Avena Foods joins sustainability program

Regina-based Avena Foods has signed on to Field to Market Canada and enrolled in a project designed to set a sustainability base line.

The project, through Field to Market’s Continuous Improvement Accelerator program, will take place on fields in southern Saskatchewan, mainly the Regina Plains area, that produce Avena’s oats and pulses.

Vice-president of sales and marketing Margaret Hughes said 25 to 30 producers will participate by collecting field data from three fields over three years.

She said the base-line data will be used to determine how farmers could improve their sustainability practices.

“Customers, commercial food companies, have approached us looking for opportunities to contribute to the development of more sustainable practices on farm, or what may be referred to as regenerative ag,” she said.

Information will be gathered, measured and analyzed in five areas: land-use efficiency, soil conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and soil carbon.

This is the first project within Field To Market Canada that will focus on advanced pulse sustainability.

Field to Market Canada was originally Canada’s FieldPrint Calculator. Avena is a member of Pulse Canada, which was an early member of that program, she said.

“Partnering with them to capture and contribute data to this national database will enable Avena and individual producers to make measured, science-based sustainability claims,” Hughes said.

Documenting, demonstrating and sharing improved practices are part of the process. Field to Market Canada provides measurement tools and resources to help growers and other value chain members to track those improvements.

“Consumers are increasingly asking questions about where and how their food was produced. Measuring specific environmental impacts of crop production will add transparency throughout the entire value chain, from farmers to consumers,” Hughes said. “The outcomes of the project will enable all partners to identify areas for improvement and make sustainability claims against established provincial and national metrics.”

This project is in addition to the Avena Purity Protocol, which ensures safe gluten-free oats and lentils for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

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