BIBLE HILL – Experimental farming efforts in Nova Scotia took a step forward today with the opening of the new Perennia Innovation Centre in the former AgriTECH Park.
© HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO DAILY NEWS
Dr. Leslie MacLaren, assoc. dean of Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture, area MP Scott Armstrong, Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann, Perennia CEO Joann Fewer, Agriculture Minister John MacDonell and N.S. Federation of Agriculture Beth Denmore participate in today's grand opening of the Perennia Innovation Centre in Bible HIll Friday morning.
The $9.2 million facility is intended to provide a facility for Nova Scotia entrepreneurs to help them develop and launch products in the marketplace, build their businesses and create jobs.
"This facility is a good step forward for agriculture," said, Beth Densmore, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, in a news release timed with the opening of the centre. "Having the innovation centre available to test new ventures and products will reduce the burden of setup and lab expenses for our agricultural entrepreneurs."
The facility is designed as a business incubator to help companies that work with plant, animal or marine-based resources to create new products.
"We need to think about and do things differently to grow the agriculture industry and our economy," said Agriculture Minister John MacDonell. "The sky is the limit at the Perennia Innovation Centre where curiosity, creativity and business savvy combine to help us find new ways to grow the agriculture industry, which is the backbone of rural Nova Scotia."
The centre is housed in a 25,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly building in Perennia Innovation Park. It leases space that can be custom designed to meet clients' needs, as well as labs and other spaces that can be used on a fee-for-service basis.
The centre was built with $5.9 million in provincial and $3.3 million in federal funding, including money from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the federal-provincial AgriFlexibility agreement.
The centre helps clients work with Dalhousie University's Faculty of Agriculture, researchers and students. Students can gain valuable experience with companies at the centre through course work, internships and part-time positions.
The centre is one of several entities that came together in 2012 to form Perennia, a fully integrated agriculture, food and bio-resource company. More information about the Perennia and the centre is available at www.perennia.ca .