Consumers play an important role in agriculture, and finding new ways to reach this audience is important.
With that goal in mind, the first ever “Wheat Retreat” brought about 30 influencers in the food and nutrition world together to explore all things wheat – nutrition, functionality and sustainability.
The Wheat Retreat was hosted by the Canadian Wheat Nutrition Initiative, aka What About Wheat?, at Cereals Canada’s world-class facilities in Winnipeg on April 27-30, 2023.
Manitoba Crop Alliance (MCA) supports market development initiatives that provide value to our farmer members, so we sent Mallorie Lewarne, our former agronomy extension specialist – cereal crops, to add some perspective on farming in Manitoba.
The retreat included a tour of Cereals Canada’s technical facilities, a pasta sensory session, a hands-on sourdough workshop, a bannock making session and discussions about wheat farming.
“Everyone who attended had great questions – including plenty about agriculture. They asked lots about general farming practices, pesticide use, the wheat class system and more,” says Lewarne.
“These influencers are much more public facing than the typical farmer or agronomist. I think this was a great opportunity to connect and provide them with accurate information they can share with the general public.”
Sheila Elder, a delegate on our wheat and barley crop committee, and her husband Jeff attended one day of the retreat and gave a presentation that took attendees through a growing season as a farmer.
They talked about seeding, scouting, spraying and harvesting, while focusing on technological advances that allow them to be more profitable and sustainable.
“I think there is often a disconnect between the farmer and the consumer,” says Lewarne. “Any opportunity we get to share accurate information about farming practices in Canada is invaluable, and these small opportunities can add up to make a large impact on that disconnect.”
What About Wheat? is a platform for nutrition professionals to find the latest science-based information on wheat to share with their clients and consumers. The information is vetted by a Scientific Advisory Council made up of researchers and registered dietitians.
Member organizations include Cereals Canada, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Alberta Wheat Commission, Manitoba Crop Alliance, Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and Canadian National Millers Association.