Event Highlights - Canada's Fruit & Veg Tech X-Change

Attended:  Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Following are some quick highlights from the Pride in Growing Speaker Series that day.  (Loved the format of quick 20 minute presentations which kept presenters focused on key messages.)

Here’s what I took away…

From Dr. John Cranfield, University of Guelph – Markets for Fruits and Vegetables

  • Keep in mind demographic influences on food purchases.  For example, the population of Canada is growing, so there are more people needing to buy food.  The impact of immigration and multiculturalism, and the fact that people are living longer.
  • The idea of “dietary acculturation” – Canadians adopt the cuisine introduced by immigrants, and immigrants adopt the cuisine of Canadians.  Adaptations take place in the process.

From Dr. Franco Berruti, Western University – Conversion of Biomass into Value Added Products

  • Think beyond bio-fuels to pharmaceuticals, flavors and specialty chemicals which are most profitable.
  • The challenge they face to make conversion economically feasible… having a steady supply of inputs, combating seasonality.  A potential solution – a cooperative approach.

From Evan Elford, OMAFRA & Martin Hodgson, Butternut Farms  (Separate presentations focused on new crop ideas.)

From Megan Hunter, Ontariofresh.ca

  • Discussed efforts to increase the local food value sold to the BPS (Broader Public Sector) such as hospitals.  This year their efforts will focus on hotels and restaurants.
  • Discussed Ontariofresh.ca – “LinkedIn for growers” – over 1,000 members.  A great opportunity for growers and buyers to connect.