Okanagan Bioregion Nutrient Management

Project Lead: Dr. Robin Harder

Project Type: Postgraduate Project

Supervisor: Dr. Sean Smukler

Project Partner: Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Funding: Real Estate Foundation of BC, Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and Regional District of North Okanagan (through Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project); Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (in kind through mobility starting grant 2016-00859).

Background and Rationale

In light of growing concern about future fertilizer availability, the need for better nutrient management across sectors and spatial scales is increasingly being recognized. Closing nutrient cycles at the local, regional, and global scales through comprehensive recovery of nutrients from animal manure, food waste, human excreta, and other nutrient-rich streams will become a necessity in the future.

Objectives

As part of the Okanagan Bioregion Food System Design Project, the Okanagan Bioregion Nutrient Management Project aspires to map nutrient flows in the Okanagan Bioregion for the current and possible future agricultural production and waste/resource management systems. The overarching objective is to identify opportunities for improving nutrient self-reliance through closing nutrient cycles at the local and regional scales. Nutrient self-reliance will benefit food self-reliance. 

Research Questions

In the Okanagan Bioregion, for the current and possible future food system and waste/resource management scenarios:

  • How many nutrients are available locally in animal manure, food waste, human excreta, and other nutrient-rich streams?
  • How are these wastes/resources managed and where do the nutrients go?
  • What is the nutrient demand of local food production?
  • How well does local nutrient availability match nutrient demand from local food production?

Expected Results

Results are expected in late 2019 and will include an assessment of:

  • Current and possible future systems for managing nutrient-rich liquid and solid streams, as well as associated nutrient flows and recovered fertilizer products.
  • The expected quality and usefulness of recovered fertilizer products for local food production under different food system scenarios.
  • The potential for improving nutrient-self reliance in the Okanagan Bioregion.

Research Assistants

The following students (listed alphabetically) are assisting with this project: