Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs

Map of living labs under the Agricultural Climate Solutions – Living Labs program

Launched in 2021, Agricultural Climate Solutions — Living Labs (ACS-LL) is a $185-million program that will allow Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to build and strengthen a nationwide network of living labs over 10 years.

Each living lab brings together farmers, scientists, and other sector stakeholders to co-develop and test innovative technologies and on-farm practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon in real-world conditions. The program draws on the same living labs approach to collaborative innovation as the previous Living Laboratories Initiative (2018 to 2023). With farmers at the centre of each living lab, their experiences and knowledge sharing will help accelerate the development and adoption of sustainable, environmentally friendly on-farm practices and technologies to tackle climate change.

Program Priorities

Led by sector partners, each living lab will implement projects to:

  • Sequester carbon: Like Canada's forests, Canada's millions of acres of farmland have the potential to store carbon and reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Soil-management practices like no-till, cover cropping, and establishing shelterbelts and riparian zones can all help to store carbon to help fight climate change.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions: Many on-farm practices for sequestering carbon also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Other living lab activities will explore livestock feed, integrated crop-livestock production systems, and precision agriculture.
  • Provide other environmental co-benefits: Sustainable on-farm practices not only help store carbon and reduce GHG emissions, they also improve soil and water quality while protecting biodiversity. Conserving these resources can lead to healthier crops and more resilient agroecosystems.

In addition to the economic benefits of adopting those practices on their farms, action now will help farmers reduce risks over the longer term from extreme weather, such as flooding and drought. The ACS-LL program will also contribute to Canada's emissions reduction target by 40 – 45% below 2005 levels, by 2030 and help us reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Meet the Living Labs

Living Lab – British Columbia

  • Location: British Columbia
  • This living lab aims to explore new, cutting-edge beneficial management practices in six general areas to help farmers fight climate change. These include crop rotations and cropping systems, land use changes, grazing management, livestock feeding, nutrient management, and increasing carbon on the whole farm.
  • Lead partner: B.C. Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF)
  • Website: BC Living Lab

Living Lab – Peace Region

  • Location: Northern Alberta and British Columbia
  • This living lab focuses on carbon sequestration, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing agroecosystem services in the Peace Region that straddles British Columbia and Alberta. The living lab will look at farms as a whole, including land management, economics and the social aspects of applying new beneficial management practices.
  • Lead partner: Peace Region Forage Seed Association
  • Website: Peace Region Living Lab

Living Lab – Regenerative Alberta

  • Location: Alberta
  • A collaborative effort between the Alberta Conservation Association and Food Water Wellness Foundation, this living lab will look to improve soil health, reduce costs of production, and sequester carbon in the soil using regenerative agriculture. Key beneficial management practices include cover cropping, intercropping, relay cropping, adaptive multi-paddock grazing, the use of perennials and animals in cropping systems, as well as feeding strategies to reduce methane production. Their activities will also amplify and support Indigenous ecological knowledge and efforts in tackling agricultural climate solutions.
  • Lead partner: Alberta Conservation Association
  • Website: Regenerative Alberta Living Lab

Living Lab – Alberta Agri-Systems

  • Location: Alberta
  • This living lab will explore the use of beef, forage and cropping systems to improve soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will lead to the development of beneficial management practices in six key areas including crop rotations and cropping systems, land use changes, grazing management, livestock feeding, nutrient management, and increasing carbon on the whole farm.
  • Lead partner: Alberta Beef Producers
  • Website: Alberta Agrisystems Living Lab

Living Lab – Bridge to Land Water Sky

  • Location: Mistawasis Nêhiyawak and Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan
  • This Indigenous-led living lab will see Indigenous and non-Indigenous producers working with sector partners towards a common goal of improving the surrounding environment while committing to the protection of Indigenous values, treaties, communities, lands and resources. Beneficial management practices explored here will include crop diversification and cover, 4R nitrogen stewardship, pesticide management, and landscape diversification.
  • Lead partner: Mistawasis Nêhiyawak
  • Website: Bridge to Land Water Sky Living Lab

Living Lab – Central Prairies

  • Location: Prairie eco-zone of Southern Saskatchewan
  • This living lab will focus on developing agricultural climate solutions for the Prairie ecoregions. Four key areas include avoiding land use conversion; adaptive grazing management; restoring and enhancing perennial plant communities; and livestock grazing of diverse annual cover crops.
  • Lead partner: South of the Divide Conservation Action Program
  • Website: Living Lab Central Prairies

Living Lab – Manitoba

  • Location: Manitoba
  • This living lab will develop and test beneficial management practices (BMPs) for nutrient management, natural and agricultural landscapes, water retention, agroforestry, crop and livestock integration, grazing management, rhizome microbiome, soil organic matter growth and soil health, as well as facilitating better use of resources. A key focus of these activities will be to bridge the gap between understanding and implementation of BMPs.
  • Lead partner: Manitoba Association of Watersheds (MAW)
  • Website: Living Lab – Manitoba

Living Lab – Ontario

  • Location: Ontario
  • This living lab will work directly with producers to develop and test beneficial management practices on up to 50 farms across Ontario. The focus of the activities will be on livestock and cropping systems, nitrogen use, manure storage, landscape management, and grazing management.
  • Lead partner: Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA)
  • Website: Living Lab – Ontario (previous project — 2019 to 2023)

Living Lab – Quebec Racines d'Avenir

  • Location: Quebec
  • This living lab is focused on producer needs in five key agricultural sectors in Quebec: dairy, cattle, pork, sheep, and field crops. The beneficial management practices being developed and tested across several regions of Quebec include crop rotation with forage, cover cropping, and soil amendments; better management of forage crops, feeding systems, and animal waste; ecological restoration, preservation, and reappropriation of sweetgrass; and agroforestry and sustainable watercourse management.
  • Lead partner: Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA)
  • Website: Laboratoire vivant – UPA (in French only)

Living Lab – Quebec Dairy Net Zero

  • Location: Quebec
  • This living lab has a network of 20 farms in four regions of Quebec. Focused on working with producers to develop and test beneficial management practices (BMPs) on the farm, the goal of this living lab is to help reach net zero GHG emissions in the dairy industry. In addition to common BMPs in the dairy industry, the activities will explore the impact of riparian strips, and biochar on biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
  • Lead partner: Les Producteurs de lait du Québec (Les PLQ)
  • Website: Le Laboratoire vivant – Lait carboneutre (in French only)

Living Lab – New Brunswick

  • Location: New Brunswick
  • This living lab will look at the feasibility of adopting practices to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on farms. Beneficial management practices explored here include systems for advanced cropping, enhanced forage management, high performance pasture management, efficient nitrogen management, as well as landscape use.
  • Lead partner: Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick
  • Website: Living Lab New Brunswick

Living Lab – Nova Scotia

  • Location: Nova Scotia
  • Focusing on four beneficial management practices important to this region, this living lab will explore the use of cover cropping in annual and perennial systems, establishing riparian zones and shelterbelts, and land swapping.
  • Lead partner: Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture
  • Website: Living Lab – Nova Scotia

Living Lab – Prince Edward Island

  • Location: Prince Edward Island
  • This living lab is focused on strengthening the sustainability of PEI's agricultural sector by co-developing and testing beneficial management practices (BMPs) and technologies on Island farms. In addition, the project will identify financial and non-financial barriers to adopting BMPs and implement awareness, engagement, and knowledge transfer activities. BMPs being explored feature kelp in diets of cattle, rotational grazing, hedgerows, edge-of-field wetlands, organic soil amendments (for example, biochar, manure, compost), and cover crop rotation with legumes.
  • Lead partner: East Prince Agri-Environment Association (EPAA)
  • Website: Living Lab – Atlantic (previous project — 2019 to 2023)
  • Related links:

Living Lab – Newfoundland and Labrador

For information on AAFC's first four living labs, check out the Living Laboratories Initiative (2018 to 2023).

Related links