Weston Family Foundation hosts Homegrown Innovation Challenge Forum

On December 5th, 2023, the Weston Family Foundation welcomed grantees from the eleven Homegrown Innovation Challenge Shepherd Phase teams to a closed forum at MaRS Centre in Toronto. Scientists, academics, growers, industry partners, business leaders, policymakers, agricultural experts, and members of the Foundation spent the day discussing topics related to horticultural innovation, controlled-environment agriculture, alternative energy sources, go-to-market strategies, and more.

The highly collaborative and engaging event provided space for grantees and others in the innovation ecosystem to discuss common opportunities and challenges in agtech, and to learn more about the work and innovations of each Homegrown project.

Learn more about the individual teams and contact us at to learn more about the Challenge.

Homegrown Innovation Challenge Shepherd grantees converse before the start of the networking event at MaRS Centre.
Grantee Martine Dorais from Université Laval listens to welcome remarks from the Chair of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge Taskforce.
Homegrown Innovation Challenge advisor Sarai Kemp moderates a panel on technical constraints & opportunities for controlled environment agriculture. She is joined by participants Niki Bennett from Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers and Fadi Al-Daoud from Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs.
Mohamad Yaghi, Lead, Agriculture and Climate Policy, Royal Bank of Canada moderated a panel discussion entitled: Onwards and upwards – adoption and scaling of agtech solutions. He was joined by panelists Johanna Waterous, Senior Advisor & President, COFRA Holdings Sustainable Food Group USA; Dufy Kniaziew, Chief Growing Officer, Pure Flavor; and Lorelei Graham, Partner, Lawyer, Patent and Trademark Agent, Bennett Jones.
Danielle Rose, CEO, Ceragen Inc. (partner of the University of Ottawa team) poses a question to one of the panelists.
Eric Gerbrandt, BeriTech (partner of Simon Fraser University team) in discussion with panelists.
Group shot of attendees of the Homegrown Innovation Challenge Networking event.

Photo credit: Kathryn Hollinrake