Organic food company buys farmland in northeastern Sask.

The founder of Nature’s Path Foods Inc. has bought a block of land in east-central Saskatchewan it plans to dedicate to organic farming.

Arran Stephens, who also owns Legend Organic Farm, bought about 5,000 acres in the Duck Mountain area last summer; 3,429 acres are cultivated and 1,536 acres are bush and wetlands set aside for wildlife conservation.

Most of the land was bought from a long-time organic farmer whom the company has declined to name.

Stephens also bought a neighbouring 1,600 acres of conventional land that were immediately placed into a 36-month transitional program to become certified organic.

The sales were private and no financial details were available.

However, in an e-mailed statement Stephens said Nature’s Path “is conscious of the fact that the average North American organic grain farmer is approaching 60-plus years of age. As these individuals begin to think about retirement, we must think about the organic supply chain.”

Nature’s Path is based in Richmond, B.C., and has for more than 30 years bought organic grains for its cereals, cereal bars and other products. It is the world’s largest independent organic breakfast and snack food brand and has production facilities in Blaine, Washington, and Sussex, Wisconsin.

The company said sales continue to climb. The United States market for organic products grew eight percent from 2016 to 2017 and organic food now accounts for more than five percent of total food sales there, it said.

Stuart McMillan will manage the Saskatchewan farm. He has worked in organic agricultural production for 25 years and has been an organic inspector in Manitoba for 12 years.

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  • ed

    Right on!

    • Harold

      I agree with you; it is nice to see a good Canadian based company expand and not see farmland lost to foreign ownership and control. One can certainly understand the GMO’s fight to keep their control and try to limit, in any way that they can, this man’s profits. Apparently, Canadians and Americans have given power to Arran Stephens through their purchases and he in turn is spending those dollars wisely on the consumer’s behalf in trust. In the fictional and fanciful, ideological world of GMO activists, they are calling this “fear” but in the real world, this is merely called – doing business. I can say this: if organic was patentable, the GMO industry would want ownership of it too and then “modern agriculture” would magically become both.

      • shakemyhead

        Both of you are such hypocrites. Why don’t you call it what it is – a “corporate farm”. Only because of the fact that it is organic does it get your stamps of approval. No lamenting the loss of a family farm to a corporate food processor, none of your usual empty allegations of how the demise of the CWB somehow forced this farmer to sell out. Just your gleaming stamps of approval. I’m not even sure how you can take yourselves seriously, never mind expect anyone else to.

  • Harold

    I do take myself very seriously but at the same time I don’t give a damn if you take me seriously or not, so therefore I have no expectations that I have placed upon you, so now you can – be sure – instead of being – “not even sure” – as you say. Your criticism was not constructive and neither was it critical in examination whereby your comment justified your own use of the word hypocrite. If you want to believe that foreign ownership is the same thing as is Canadian ownership, that is perfectly fine by me, but regardless, I do know the difference and the differences are facts and facts are not allegations. When I said that ”it is nice to see a good Canadian based company expand and not see farmland lost to foreign ownership and control”, just what makes you believe that I am not talking about a Canadian corporation. Do I have to spell everything out to you or is it OK that I assume that you have ordinary knowledge. What does a company expansion mean? Furthermore, how can I lament a loss when I have no power over the sale of that Farm and if I did an exercise in lamenting, exactly what useful purpose would it serve other than serving your own empty fancies?

  • old grouchy

    I just see this as more HUGE dollar competition for the existing farmers in the area. Wonder what its going to do for the long term services in most areas when the farmland is at least operated by only a very few hands? I’d bet that there are going to be a lot more hospital closures and a lot more travel for services coming up in rural western Canada!


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