Balancing Nature and Technology: Unveiling the Secrets of Daily Operations (Canada)

Balancing crops, community, and life: Mike DelCiancio's secret to thriving in greenhouse farming. Together we discussed the impact of technology, trust, and continuous learning on daily operations for consistent and high-quality produce.
09 June 2023

To explore the different futures of climate control with Priva we took the trip to meet with Mike Del Ciancio, a grower based in Canada that truly embraces technology for his daily operations.
Mike is a third generation family farmer and shared with us his experience with implementing technology and building trust with innovation. We also talk about the impact it has had on his team and how he navigates managing life, community and growing the best produce possible - every single day. Because nature doesn't stop, operations can't miss a single beat. When nature fluctuates, we need to bring balance and continuity.

Hey Mike, thank you for having us! Can you give an introduction about yourself and how you started to get into greenhouse farming?

My name is Mike Del Ciancio. I am 41 years old and a third generation family farmer in the Leamington Kingsville area. My family has been farming this land since 1979 and in greenhouse farming since 1995. You could say I grew up driving tractors, carrying tomato crates and selling produce to our community. It's quite special to continue the values your family set forth, to work with your parents and son. It's a luxury I wouldn't have elsewhere.

Farming wasn't the straightforward choice for me after school, I studied music business and philosophy for a time. Growing up, people say: follow your passions, and sometimes I believe that you can create a passion if you're in it long enough. Something I love about this industry is dealing with something living, breathing and perishable - you become a Jack of all trades.


PRIVA DC Farms Tomvanhuisstede 0217 Groot
Nature doesn't do downtime. It keeps on going, 24 hours a day, so our operations can't miss a beat. Consistency is key.




PRIVA DC Farms Tomvanhuisstede 0923 Groot (1)

Because we're focusing on daily operations with you - let's start with yourself. What does a typical day look like for you?

My typical day starts at 5.30. I'm used to waking up at this time naturally or when my son comes to wake me up. I go to the gym to work out and clear my head. That kind of sets my day. Back at the farm, I love starting my day off by just walking through the crop, going back and forth. Now, last week we had our first very hot weather. As a grower, in the winter you're usually worried about your boiler and the heating, in the summer you're worried about irrigation. So I work closely with my employees to make me aware of any issues they notice. Dealing with my employees is everything. Really, I wouldn't be here without them and neither would this entire industry.

Sounds like you and your team have a pretty consistent routine. Is that part of your philosophy?

Continuity in our business is very crucial. We are dealing with plants and mother nature, both can fluctuate very much, so the human element and balance we can bring with technology are very important. My plants can feel it and my employees can feel it.

Speaking of tech, how did you start integrating technology into your business to achieve this kind of consistency?

Personally, I'm a smaller operation, so I have to be more selective on where I spend my time.

I'm looking at areas with the most return that can seamlessly integrate. I have been using Blue Radix and Priva technology for the last two and a half years. In year one, I started off with one acre and compared it to an acre I ran myself. I started learning about data collection and transfer. It was interesting to see the slight difference in the decision we took, slowly building trust in the end results. Now in my third year, I still keep a close eye on the predictive growing software and hardware, but I run my entire farm on it.

PRIVA DC Farms Tomvanhuisstede 0245 Groot

How did predictive cultivation influence your team?

The growers are quite experienced with years returning, and it's great to have that consistency. I'm responsible for my team and their families. We have to be tight-knit, everybody feels like they have each other's back, and I've had many employees return year after year, up to double digits. But some positions are challenging to fill when someone leaves. Predictive cultivation has definitely helped me in training new growers. Now I can trust that behind the scenes the fine-tuning decisions are being made, that's nice to know.



PRIVA DC Farms Tomvanhuisstede 0845 Groot

Looking at how far technology has brought you in your operations, where do you think greenhouse farming will go in the future?

I'm a bit of a dreamer, but I see one day that my data here and collected around the world could help essentially grow food in very challenging areas of the world. If you want to keep up with an ever-changing world, I believe that in horticulture it is going to be a necessary part of everyone's business in the not-too-distant future.


Want to know more? Lets have a chat!

Juan Gonzalez

Account Manager Horticulture

Juan Gonzalez