Our next Cleantech Coast to Coast Road Trip stop is Mississauga, Ontario, next door to Toronto. It’s home to a marina, a working lighthouse, and Canada’s largest and busiest airport, Toronto Pearson International. Several movies and TV shows have been filmed here including Handmaid’s Tale, Schitt’s Creek, and Black Mirror. We dropped in (virtually!) to visit Nurture Growth Biofertilizer, which has been creating buzz across the country.
While her parents were farmers when they first moved to Canada more than 40 years ago, this agtech business executive never imagined she would return to her roots after working in the education sector for two decades.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be back in farming,” says Le Luong, Executive VP of Marketing and Business Development for Mississauga-based Nurture Growth Biofertilizer.
Nurture Growth’s innovative bio-organic fertilizer uses the science of “biomimicry” to emulate what happens in nature to promote plant health and improve soil conditions.
This biofertilizer is capturing the attention of Prince Edward County and Niagara-On-the-Lake wineries and vineyards.
“We noticed that after just a couple of applications, the colour of the treated vines was noticeably richer and a darker green than the leaves of the untreated vines. We will continue using Nurture Growth to increase the vitality of our vineyards,” says Jim Reschke, VP of Operations at Konzelmann Estate Winery.
Luong knows how farmers are continually challenged to grow more food with less land. To meet those unrealistic expectations, they sometimes resort to chemicals that are harmful to the environment.
“Instead of giving plants fertilizer, why not replenish the soil with healthy microorganisms? That is what our fertilizer does, it helps to naturally stimulate soil and plant health,” says Luong.
Nurture Growth’s product is classified as a biofertilizer, yet the microbes in the product have bio-stimulant and bio-inoculant functions and benefits. This means when the product travels through the cells of the plants, it produces the essential nutrients to help improve crop growth and plant health. Not only is the plant improved, but the soil is also enhanced through any stress or drought conditions which stimulates root development while neutralizing the pH level of the soil to improve nutrient availability. This helps to improve the taste, fruit size, shape, uniformity, colour, and quality of orchard and vineyard grown fruit.
Luong is proud to be part of a company that does two innovative things really well. They help to fight food shortages and help farmers do it in a more sustainable way. And they have a solution that can help with climate change while contributing back to the economy.
Their small team of six works with 15 contractors. While the company is based in Ontario, Nurture Growth has expanded into Alberta and is looking to the United States as well as globally in the next five to 10 years. Their organic biofertilizer is available at Lowes, Rona, Canadian Tire, and Home Depot.
Luong is a recent graduate of Innovation Guelph’s RhyzeUp! acceleration program, which provides access to experts and leadership coaching for women entrepreneurs. She says the program helped give their team an incredible support network. “I felt a warmth with Innovation Guelph, it’s entrepreneur-friendly.”
Foresight joins Ontario winemakers in saying “Cheers” to this agtech innovation.
Photo: Le Luong has seen great adoption of Nurture Growth’s Biofertilizer across the country.