“All About Specialty Crops” Webinar Series Starting January 14, 2021

Are you interested in diversifying your business by growing niche and specialty crops?
Join us for our 4-part specialty crop webinar series to learn about producing and marketing specialty crops. The first webinar will provide an overview of specialty crop production, pest management and marketing, with the following three sessions focusing on several specific specialty crops. This series is brought to you by OMAFRA, Invest Durham, Durham Farm Fresh, York Region and York Farm Fresh. Production/climate information will be oriented towards growers in the Durham and York region areas but participants from all locations are welcome to join.
Please register for each session you are planning on attending https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/all-about-specialty-crops-workshop-series-registration-132462959277

Jan 14, 12pm-1pm: Overview of Specialty Crop Production
• Specialty Crop Production
• Specialty Crop Pest Management
• Specialty Crop Marketing

Jan 21, 12pm-1pm: Lavender, Hops, Cannabis & Industrial Hemp
• Lavender
• Hops
• Cannabis & Industrial Hemp

Jan 28, 12pm-1pm: Specialty Fruit & Nuts
• Haskap
• Elderberry
• Sea buckthorn
• Hazelnuts
• Other tree nuts
• Peanuts

Feb 4, 12pm-1pm: Specialty Vegetables
• Herbs
• Specialty leafy greens
• Okra
• Sweet potatoes
• Jerusalem artichoke
• Tigernut

Workshops are led by OMAFRA Specialists Evan Elford (New Crop Development Specialist), Dr. Melanie Filotas (Horticulture IPM Specialist), Dr. Sean Westerveld (Ginseng and Herb Specialist), and Dr. Jim Todd (Industrial Crops Specialist)

Speaker Bios

Evan Elford is the New Crop Development Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) based in Simcoe, Ontario. He works on developing information related to specialty crop production and marketing for a range of crops including non-traditional fruits, vegetables, grains, and other crops such as hops and specialty mushrooms. Evan grew up on a hog farm in Cannington, Ontario and prior to joining OMAFRA, he completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Guelph in Plant Agriculture, worked for industry associations, a horticultural farm operation, and as a field technician with the University of Guelph.

Dr. Melanie Filotas is a Horticulture Pest Management Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Simcoe, Ontario. She has worked with growers, industry, researchers and ministry colleagues to identify pests and pest management solutions for specialty crops in Ontario since 2006. Her current areas of focus include hazelnuts, hops, sweet potatoes, specialty berries, ginseng and hemp. Melanie has a Ph.D. in Entomology from Cornell University where she studied biological control of forest insects. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked as a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, looking at use of biopesticides, natural enemies and other reduced risk products to control insects in commercial greenhouses.

Sean Westerveld has served as Ginseng and Herbs Specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs since 2008. He received B.Sc. (Agr.), M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Horticulture from the University of Guelph. Prior to working with OMAFRA, Sean worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Muck Crops Research Station and as interim leader of the Vegetable and Non-traditional Crops Research Program at the Simcoe Research Station of the University of Guelph. His primary role in OMAFRA is to support the Ontario ginseng, lavender and herb industries through technology transfer and to provide input into provincial and federal policies that may affect the industry. Over the past few years he has been the lead on an initiative to find a solution to ginseng replant disease. Sean is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph.

Jim Todd joined the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), as the transition crop specialist in 2005 and holds adjunct professor status with the University of Guelph. Jim began his career with a BSc from the University of Waterloo, followed by a Ph.D. in plant physiology from the University of Guelph. After graduation, his research focused on plant wax and lipid metabolism and using microarrays to study large scale gene expression in plants. As OMAFRA’s industrial crop specialist, Jim works on identifying crops with potential to serve as agricultural feedstocks for Ontario’s developing bioeconomy. As the cannabis lead for OMAFRA’s Economic Development Division, he is now actively engaged in developing Ontario’s industrial hemp and cannabis sectors.

This workshop series is brought to you by OMAFRA, Invest Durham, Durham Farm Fresh, York Region and York Farm Fresh.

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