And the Winner is.... IFAO's Soil Health and Nutrient Management Challenge

March 29, 2023

March 29, 2023: Foresight Canada and the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario (IFAO) are excited to announce the winner of the Soil Health and Nutrient Management Challenge…Picketa Systems! 

This Innovation Challenge was launched in November 2022 to find solutions that would improve farmers’ ability to implement better nutrient management while improving soil health. We’re happy to say, Picketa Systems’ winning ‘LENS’ solution does just that!

The LENS solution removes the need to send samples to a lab in the process of analyzing leaf tissue, allowing growers to make data-oriented decisions quickly. Plant nutrient-content analysis results are available seconds after a scan is initiated, and results are sent to farmers and agronomists so they can make fertilizer decisions faster.

Picketa Systems will receive up to $20,000 to test the innovative LENS solution through three-year pilot projects on three or more IFAO-run Ontario farms, averaging 1,000 acres of production. 

But wait! There's more!

Foresight and the IFAO are exploring the possibility of bringing fellow-finalist FARMEYE on board for the pilot. 

FARMEYE’s advanced Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) software allows insights to be derived from soil health, farm carbon and environmental data, enabling the agri-sector to adjust to meet stringent climate targets. We are actively looking at strategies to feed LENS tissue sample results into the FARMEYE platform to provide farmers with the data and analysis they need to make decisions for their farms. 

Both Foresight and the IFAO are thrilled that this challenge will create not only on-the-ground results for farmers and improved soil health and nutrient management, but may also create the opportunity for two ventures to collaborate in a new way. 

"It was such a pleasure working with IFAO to source viable solutions that improve soil health and nutrient management for Canadian farmers. I am very excited about the opportunity for two ventures to come together to further develop their problem-driven solutions for this market. Innovation is not a solitary endeavor. Industry and innovators connecting through Challenges like this one is a clear pathway to solve urgent sustainability issues. If we are going to meet our lofty climate targets, this is the type of collaboration we need to see more of."

Jeanette Jackson CEO of Foresight Canada

“Finding solutions that improve soil health and nutrient management will benefit agriculture and the environment. We're very happy to have worked with Foresight Canada to select and connect two ventures with strong solutions in store for Ontario agriculture.”

Tori Waugh IFAO 

"Winning the IFAO Soil Health Challenge has given us a great opportunity to showcase our innovative solutions and demonstrate how they can benefit farmers in Ontario and beyond. Our technology has the potential to help farmers optimize their operations, by providing real-time insights into crop nutrient levels, and helping to maximize irrigation and fertilizer use. We are excited to work with farmers in Ontario to help them increase yields, reduce costs, and improve sustainability, and we believe that our solutions will play an important role in shaping the future of agriculture.” Xavier Hébert-Couturier, Picketa Systems

"The Soil Health and Nutrient Management Challenge has given us the opportunity to collaborate with other innovators and bring the FARMEYE platform to new audiences. Our software platform will help Ontario farmers measure and manage large-scale natural capital datasets to achieve Science Based Targets initiatives (SBTis) and use the most advanced Technology-Stack and accreditation to verify Natural Capital datasets, including soil health, soil carbon, water quality and biodiversity."

Stephen Coen FARMEYE

About the Challenge: 

Healthy, nutrient-dense soil leads to higher crop yields and increased profitability. However, the average Ontario field crop operation faces a number of soil health and nutrient challenges, including nitrogen loss through leaching, runoff, and volatilization, as well as skilled labour shortages and unreliable fertilizer application advice. View the Challenge here

This Challenge offered agritech and agrifood ventures the opportunity to be selected to pilot their unique solutions to mitigate these challenges by improving soil structure and water holder capacity, reducing erosion, and improving the rate, timing and placement of fertilizers.

To be considered successful, solutions need to improve nutrient management and soil health simultaneously, fit easily into existing operations, address weather uncertainties, and be profitable for the average field crop farmer in Ontario in the first year. 

About the Innovative Farmers Association of Ontario (IFAO)

As a collective of perceptive, innovative, and resourceful farmers, IFAO has been promoting soil health in Ontario agriculture for over 30 years. They are focused on environmental and financial sustainability, and supporting innovations in agriculture through connection and collaboration with farmers. 

IFAO facilitates idea exchanges, and collaborates to test and develop innovation to support the betterment of Ontario’s agricultural sector. Learn more at:

About Foresight Canada:

Foresight is Canada’s cleantech accelerator. Foresight supports the identification and validation of cleantech opportunities and the successful commercialization of solutions. We bring together industry, government, academia, investors, and innovators to address today’s most urgent climate issues and support a global transition to a green economy.

Find out more at | Follow on Twitter @ForesightCAC