April 15, 2008
The Vineland Research and Innovation Centre has established a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. With the idea of consulting and sharing information among all stakeholder groups, the advisory committee is the first of three such committees that Vineland plans to establish.

Located in the Niagara Region, the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre is a not-for-profit corporation. It is currently in the process of significant renewal and revitalization as result of a federal and provincial government- and industry-led initiative in 2007 to create a world-class research institution and international hub for horticulture and ornamentals research, innovation and commercialization.

Created in 1906 through a gift by M.F. Rittenhouse, the Vineland Research Station has contributed to the emergence of a competitive horticulture industry in one of Canada’s most unique geographic regions. It is credited with the development and release of over 150 new varieties of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants, as well as numerous production techniques and post-harvest technologies.

“The goal of Vineland’s vision is to develop long-term technology and innovation that adds overall value to horticultural and ornamental products and to the industry,” said Donald Ziraldo, chair of Vineland Research and Innovation Centre Board. “Vineland’s success will be driven by brilliant science working hand-in-hand with market delivery. The stakeholder advisory committee provides invaluable expertise to ensure that Vineland’s programs remain based on achieving commercially relevant outcomes that will provide the industry with strong competitive advantages.”

The stakeholder advisory committee is charged with addressing sector-specific opportunities and the quality of knowledge transfer for Vineland. Committee chair is Debbie Whitehouse, executive director of the Niagara Parks Commission. Whitehouse’s previous experience includes serving as director of Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture and acting director of horticulture.

Eighteen representatives from the horticulture industry join Whitehouse on the Vineland Stakeholder Advisory Committee, including John Bakker, Paul-André Bosc, David Donnelly, Michael Ecker, Ward Hanlon, Pascale Harstar, Denton Hoffman, Ian Mole, Art Moyer, Matthias Oppenlaender, Lynn Ogryzlo, Ken Porteous, Patrick Robson, Harold Schooley, Jennifer Smith, Torrie Warner, and ex-officio members, Bill Ingratta and Dr. Gary Whitfield. These members were nominated and selected following an earlier meeting attended by 68 stakeholders.