TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2019 /CNW/ - A key trade negotiator with former U.S. president Barack Obama's administration will headline this year's Arrell Food Summit to be held by the University of Guelph Dec. 3 in Toronto. 

Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural trade negotiator and deputy undersecretary at the U.S Department of Agriculture, will talk about global opportunities and challenges during the one-day conference on food systems and agri-food, to be held at the Globe and Mail Centre.

The summit will discuss skills training for the agri-food sector, Canada's branding initiative for safe and sustainable food, institutional food and planetary health, and equitable food systems.

Hosted by U of G's Arrell Food Institute (AFI), the event is expected to attract about 175 agri-food experts from across Canada, including food producers and processors, government and corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and academics.

Prof. Evan Fraser, AFI director and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security, said the summit will bring together diverse experts to talk about Canada's role as a trusted world food supplier.

Referring to U of G, he said, "As Canada's food university, we want to ensure we play a central role in the national and international discussion."

John Stackhouse, senior vice-president in the Office of the CEO at RBC in Toronto and former editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail, will discuss this year's RBC report about new skills needed for farming. Called Farmer 4.0, the report projects a shortage of 123,000 agricultural workers in Canada by 2030, particularly as older farmers retire and fewer young people take up agriculture.

The document calls for a national agricultural skills strategy involving employers, educators and industry groups to plan for future labour needs.

According to a 2017 study commissioned by U of G's Ontario Agricultural College, four jobs exist for every OAC graduate.

That year also saw creation of the Arrell Food Institute at the University, intended to bring together cutting-edge research, agricultural expertise, big data and environmental science to transform the global food economy and further strengthen U of G and Canada as agri-food leaders. 

The 2019 conference will be the institute's second summit.

Conference highlights:

  • As chief agricultural negotiator for the Obama administration, keynote speaker Darci Vetter led negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agricultural package and served as an international trade adviser on the Senate finance committee. Now vice-chair, agriculture, food and trade, for Edelman North America, she will deliver the summit's keynote speech.
  • David McInnes, a senior fellow at Canada 2020, an Ottawa-based think tank, will lead a session on Canada's role as an agri-food leader and its brand as a producer of safe and sustainable food.
  • Joshna Maharaj, a chef with Ascari Hospitality Group and author of the book Take Back the Tray will discuss changes to food systems in hospitals, universities and other institutions.
  • Developing sustainable, healthy and equitable food systems will be the topic of a session with University of Saskatchewan plant scientist Leon Kochian and Andy Du Plessis, managing director of FoodForward South Africa, a not-for-profit organization. Kochian and FoodForward South Africa received the 2019 Arrell Global Food Innovation Awards.

WINNIPEG. NOVEMBER 12, 2019 – Twenty years ago Danny Kleinsasser started Danny’s Whole Hog BBQ & Smokehouse from scratch, with a dream and a passion for food. Nearing the end of 2019, his business has had his most successful year to date, with his sauce and meats product lines in over eighty Manitoba stores. 

Kleinsasser started it all with the designing and building of propane whole hog barbeques. With business creativity, the belief that a handshake meant something, and the development of a high-quality, award winning catering menu, he and his business have become a Manitoba favorite. Kleinsasser’s humble business beginnings have resulted in his constant giving back to the community across Manitoba. From feeding the homeless to sponsoring countless charity sport tournaments, Danny not only is there to lend a helping hand, but also to help build the community in Manitoba. 

His new-found relationship with the De Luca family distribution business has allowed for Danny’s proud Manitoba company to flourish. De Luca’s Specialty Food Store was established in 1968 as a grocery store and small restaurant featuring authentic Italian foods and catering primarily to Winnipeg’s Italian community.

Danny, his wife and six children are a feel-good story for Manitoban’s to get behind. In a time when Manitoba is inundated with crime and drug-crisis, his persona and story is a positive breath of fresh air that many are looking to hear about. If you are interested in interviewing Danny for his business and community success, please contact Andrea Katz via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via phone at 204.770.2203


November 13, 2019 – Denver, CO – Ardent Mills, the premier flour-milling and ingredient company, recently named industry veteran Troy Anderson as Vice President of Operations. Anderson served as the Senior Director of Operations since 2014. Previously, he was with Cargill in a variety of roles since 1992. Troy has taken over for Brad Allen, who retired as VP of Operations in May 2019.

“We are making significant changes to our leadership team in order to position Ardent Mills to deliver on our strategic growth plan,” said Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. “Brad was instrumental in building a solid operations team. With his retirement, we wanted to bring in a new leader that understood our past, and also understands our long-term vision. Troy is that person. He is a significant driver in aligning our critical operations structure with the rest of the organization.”

Anderson is committed to centering operations on the people-focused pillar of Ardent Mills. He is changing the structure of operations to intentionally align similar mills (in size and configuration) to share best practices and team up for customer success.

“The honor of delivering a nutritious food ingredient that feeds millions of people every day makes for an extremely rewarding career,” said Anderson. “I am filled with excitement about this new chapter at Ardent Mills and look forward to actively leading our Operations Team in living out our vision and mission in serving our customers, communities, supplier partners and Ardent Mills team members.”

Additionally, to align with the people-first vision, Mark Kruger has been promoted to Vice President, Human Resources & Employment Law, working closely with Anderson in strategic decisions based on the best interests of team members and the business.

Anderson received his Bachelor of Science in Milling Science and Management – Operations from Kansas State University.

Kruger holds a BA degree in Financial Economics from Gustavus Adolphus College and a JD degree from the University of Minnesota.


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