EDMONTON, Alberta, March 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Protein Industries Canada will be making their 16th technology project announcement, and their third based out of Alberta. The project, featuring a consortium of GrainFrac Inc., Tomtene Seed Farms and Ripple Foods PBC, is aimed at developing high-protein pulse-based ingredients using technology with lower energy and water requirements related to processing.

The announcement will take place virtually on Thursday, March 4, 2021, at 9 a.m. MST. Media can attend by registering at Project participants will be available to answer questions following the announcement.


Julie Shirley didn’t set out to ace the apiary business, but the success of her honey farm proves she’s got what it takes.


Julie is the primary owner and operator of Blue Heron Gardens near Cudworth, Saskatchewan. The farm is dedicated to producing high quality, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) approved honey, in an environmentally friendly way.


The quarter section Julie and her husband Jeff bought about a decade ago was intended as an escape from the city and a place for Julie to grow a market garden business.


“In the beginning we were both working in the city, but we had a dream to buy some land and change our lifestyle,” explains Julie.


After building a log home on the farm and spending their summers there, in 2014 they quit their city jobs and moved to the farm full-time with Jeff running his own tech business.


When the market garden business proved challenging to earn a living off, the couple saw another opportunity buzzing around their farm.


“We had planted fruit trees out here from the University of Saskatchewan’s fruit culture program,” says Jeff. “There are sour cherries and Haskaps. We originally had two beehives to pollinate them but that turned into 12, 20, 60 and so on.”


Blue Heron Gardens now has 265 hives and produces about 50,000 pounds of honey each year. Julie also sells the beeswax that’s created from making honey to the hobbies and crafts market.


“There’s very little waste in making honey and at the same time the bees are pollinating crops and increasing farmer yields. They will fly about two miles from their hive. Farmers are usually happy to have you put bees on their land,” explains Jeff. “The bees create more food for the supply chain so it’s a very environmentally friendly business where you’re improving it and giving back to the earth.”


Mentorship matters to business success


The science of beekeeping is something Julie is relentless in learning. She and Jeff credit their mentor and fellow beekeeper, Tony Lalonde for giving them the knowledge needed to be successful and recognizing Julie’s talent, encouraging her to focus on that part of the business.


“We were really lucky to have a good mentor with the bees, he’s helped us be successful,” says Julie. “I love to learn. During the mentorship I would take all the notes and try to improve everything.”


“The bees are livestock”, adds Jeff. “No different than having 200 head of cattle we have 20 million head of bees. Julie applies her science training to the husbandry of the bees. She also has very steady hands. You need steady hands and good vision. She’s not scared of them. If you watch her work the bees, she’s in there with no gloves and the bees are crawling all over her.”


Sweat equity


Starting a business is a lot of work, especially a farm business on the wind-swept prairie. With Jeff’s agtech background, they are committed to innovation and technology. Still, the road isn’t easy. In the busy season from April to October, Julie puts in plenty of 16-hour days. All those hours didn’t add up to a profit in the early years so financial help was a must.


Julie received a grant through the Federal government’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund. She also worked with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to finance a new honey plant on their farm.


“We would not have been successful without FCC. We built a brand-new facility which helped streamline everything and it was so much easier this year,” says Julie.


Jeff added, “The new honey plant is creating cash flow in honey for the bee business, it’s allowed Julie to have a wonderful career here at the farm,” says Jeff.


Christa Galaura, FCC Relationship Manager in Saskatoon saw the potential in their plans. “They are in good shape for the honey production they need and there’s room for expansion.”


“They want to create jobs in the local community, they’re very open to mentorship. Not only learning from mentors but starting to mentor others. They keep learning and it delivers results. This year’s crop sold at a premium because their quality was so good.”


Julie has started her own queen cells, which means she doesn’t have to import the queen bees from outside the country. That’s another step along with becoming CFIA registered and approved that supports the premium product customers are looking for.


“Becoming CFIA approved means our honey can be sold in stores and internationally. Means more market and a better quality product and a better price for pound selling it. It’s not a backyard quality, it’s kitchen grade, ready to go to the food supply market,” said Jeff.


While the market garden still holds a special place in her heart, Julie has grown to love beekeeping. “It’s more than just a job, it’s something you are committed to and you love. That’s why you put all your hours into it and all your effort. I’m a nurturer and I like taking care of things so that’s why it’s a good fit for me.”


FCC is Canada’s leading agriculture and food lender, with a healthy loan portfolio of more than $41 billion. Our employees are dedicated to the future of Canadian agriculture and food. We provide flexible, competitively priced financing, management software, information and knowledge specifically designed for the agriculture and food industry. As a self-sustaining Crown corporation, we provide an appropriate return to our shareholder, and reinvest our profits back into the industry and communities we serve. For more information, visit


Pointe-Claire, QC March 2021 – LUDA Foods, manufacturer of soups, sauces and custom blends located in Pointe-Claire, has released three new products as part of its LUDA H and PRO lines for the CDN foodservice market.

LUDA H Vegan No Chicken & No Beef gravies are plant-based, high quality, on trend products that will help you create delicious meal solutions for any menu! Gluten free, Halal & Kosher certified, these wonderful instant sauces will help enhance the flavours in any recipe and provide flexibility in the kitchen as they are low in sodium as well (135mg of sodium per serving). They are sold in 6 x 395g pouches and offer 70 servings per unit.

LUDA PRO Vegan No Beef Ground is a seasoned plant-based ground beef that is an excellent alternative to meat and could be used in a plethora of different vegan applications. The product is not only Gluten- Free, Halal and Kosher certified but contains a wealth of complete soy protein containing all the essential amino acids. It is sold in a 4kg format with 128 servings per tub.

“We are very optimistic about this product launch and strongly feel that the instant, low sodium and plant-based product features are perfect cost-efficient and on-trend solutions for any kitchen, especially in today’s world. We are confident that these products will continue to demonstrate that LUDA remains innovative, forward-thinking, and adaptable to any situation” says Michael Delli Colli, Director or Marketing and R&D.


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Newswire) Feb. 24, 2021 -- KeyLeaf, one of North America’s leading specialists in plant-based ingredient commercialization, has announced the launch of its newly redesigned website at


The revamped site showcases KeyLeaf’s new self-branded line of premier hemp-based ingredients and details the company’s product development and contract processing services now available to the plant-based food, beverage, and nutraceutical industries. The site also features a new streamlined home page with an eco-friendly theme that captures the essence of the KeyLeaf organization.


In addition to promoting and providing specs for the products and services available at KeyLeaf’s Canadian and US facilities, the new website will act as a repository for press releases, company news, technical articles, blog postings, and discussions with top scientists and industry veterans on a wide variety of topics ranging from emerging trends in the plant-based meat space to how to improve taste and color of dry fractionated hemp protein powder.


“Our new website clarifies our identity and leadership role in the plant-based ingredient space and signifies our successful transition from POS BioSciences to our new corporate identity: KeyLeaf Life Sciences; KeyLeaf for short,” says Justin White, KeyLeaf’s Vice President of Global Sales & Business Development. “Visitors to the site will be able to gain insight into our company’s backstory as well as our new direction. Our site redesign improves the experience of visitors, online researchers, and clients with easier and faster access to key information about our company, our products, our services, and our industry.”


KeyLeaf’s redesigned site gives visitors a look inside the company’s fully equipped production facilities with a series of color photographs and introduces the KeyLeaf team members with photos, names, and contact information.


“The website will assist members of plant-based food, beverage, and nutraceutical industries to reach out and connect with our skilled team of scientists to cultivate inspiring new ideas that will vitalize our planet’s future, making it healthier and more sustainable,” says White.


The Global Food Security Index 2020 highlights the urgent need to build a strong, resilient and sustainable global food system

The covid-19 pandemic has exposed several risks to an already-fragile global food security environment. Even before covid-19 struck, the global food security landscape was deteriorating, with rising inequality and climate risks threatening the stability of our food systems. However, 2020 yielded unprecedented additional pressure on personal incomes, government support programmes, food production and supply chains.

Released today, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Food Security Index (GFSI), sponsored by Corteva Agriscience, is a benchmarking tool that examines the underlying drivers and causes of food security across both developed and developing countries. The GFSI evaluates how effectively a country is able to meet its population’s calorific and nutritional needs, while also examining the impact of external factors such as agricultural infrastructure, political stability and climate risks, among others.

Now in its ninth year, the 2020 edition of the GFSI incorporates a fourth category, “natural resources and resilience”, into the main index alongside the three existing categories, “affordability”, “availability”, and “quality and safety”. This new methodology acknowledges the critical importance of the resilience of natural resources as a central pillar of the conversation on food security. We hope that this methodological shift will firmly link the dialogue on climate change with the one on food security going forward.

“As the Global Food Security Index sponsor, we are proud to do our part in renewing the collective commitment to creating a more food-secure world,” said James C. Collins, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of Corteva Agriscience. “Corteva believes that it is crucial for all stakeholders to have an honest conversation about insights and solutions to address global food insecurity, and the GFSI sits at the heart of it. This year, the report was strengthened by the fourth pillar, natural resources and resilience, which is a key addition to the index as we work together to secure a more sustainable global food system.”

The GFSI report also highlights the importance of building resilience into food systems and discusses the importance of addressing structural inequalities to enhance the food environment. “The global pandemic, and resulting lockdowns, have tested our food system and exposed vulnerabilities” said Pratima Singh, project lead for the Global Food Security Index at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “We need to address the structural inequalities—economic, social and environmental—that were a fundamental feature of the pandemic. Governments and policymakers, NGOs, and the private sector all have a role to play as we aim to recover from the impact of covid-19 on economies and food systems and invest in innovation to strengthen our global food environment.”

Key findings from the Global Food Security Index 2020 include:

After improving consistently for seven years from 2012 to 2018, the overall global food security environment deteriorated for the second year in a row in 2020. Using the new methodology, 62 countries saw their performance drop compared with 2019. The pandemic is likely to exacerbate these risks. Finland tops the rankings for the second year in a row, followed by Ireland. On the other hand, Yemen remains one of the least food-secure countries in the world with heightening fears of a famine.

The 2020 GFSI highlights the importance of social safety nets. While social safety nets have proved to be critical in protecting vulnerable groups, the GFSI finds that only 55 countries have a sufficiently funded, national support programme in place. The pandemic has exposed the gaps in functioning of several such programmes, indicating that they are not sufficient during times of crisis. Consequently, the prevalence of food insecurity often increases, particularly among low-income and high-risk groups.

The GFSI saw marked improvements in access to mobile phones and digital services. Sixty-three countries improved their performance on this indicator, highlighting the critical role of mobile phones and digital technology in sharing information and knowledge, and receiving digital payments.

There is a clear need to further prioritise food security in national policymaking. The GFSI finds that only 54 countries have a national food-security strategy in place, while only 31 countries have a dedicated food security agency. Nutritional standards improved in only five countries in 2020. Defined food-security strategies are vital to helping policymakers address the nutritional needs of vulnerable populations. 

Climate risks continue to threaten food security. Climate change has exacerbated environmental inequalities both within and across countries, and high-income countries are not immune. Forty-nine of the 113 countries covered in the GFSI are experiencing increased volatility in agricultural production, while public investment in agricultural research and development has been declining. Encouragingly, 72 countries have highlighted agricultural adaptation as part of their climate change strategies; however, governments and policymakers must prioritise continued action, as much progress is still required.

The Global Food Security Index 2020 will be launched at 9am UK time on Tuesday, February 23rd. The launch will be followed by a live broadcast event at 4pm UK time on Wednesday, February 24th.

To access the global and regional reports and other detailed findings from the index, visit


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