From the left: Mandy Lam and Kara McClenaghan, two co-op students at ZipGrow are shown doing the same type of work St. Lawrence College students will be doing during the program. Courtesy Photo

CORNWALL – ZipGrow Inc. announced its collaboration with St. Lawrence College to provide students the opportunity to enrol in a Controlled Environment Agriculture program at the college’s Cornwall Campus in a July 14 press release. ZipGrow Inc. is located on Cumberland Street in Cornwall and “is an international leader in indoor vertical farming technology, empowering people to grow fresh food locally and sustainably.”

The course will run between Sept. 12 to Nov. 4, and it will “help prepare individuals for employment in the agricultural technology sector as it pertains to greenhouses, and indoor farms growing food, pharmaceutical, and alternative crops.” Applications are currently being accepted for the program and those successfully completing the “course will receive a “Statement of Achievement” from St. Lawrence College.”

The press release explained students will be instructed on Controlled Environment Crops, Integrated Pest Management, Plant Propagation, and CEA Business Modelling at the Cornwall Campus of St. Lawrence College. Course labs will be held at the ZipGrow’s Cornwall location, with students receiving instruction “from expert growers at ZipGrow Inc.’s state-of-the-art indoor farm facility that utilizes patented Hydroponic Tower technology frequently used in commercial farms worldwide.” Students will receive hands-on training in aspects of the hydroponic farm including planting, harvesting and maintenance explained Lesley McDougall, marketing coordinator at ZipGrow Inc.

“There are few opportunities in the ag-tech sector where students can receive hands-on training in an indoor vertical farm setting,” said Eric Lang, president of ZipGrow Inc. He continued how the company can provide the knowledge and resources needed to assist people entering this field. Lang noted the CEA Industry is growing “in direct relation to an increasing need for improving crop yields to meet the rising demand for fresh food globally.” Other factors associated with this sector’s growth include rising populations, and lack of access to land suitable for agriculture.

St. Lawrence College president and CEO Glenn Vollebregt commented how the partnership with ZipGrow will allow students to receive experience working in the field. “We are thrilled to have ZipGrow as a new partner in education that will provide access to the high-quality training students will need to succeed.