Ontario Celebrates Excellence in Agriculture
The Excellence in Agriculture Awards recognize agri-food businesses, individuals and organizations that have raised the bar for agri-food excellence, demonstrated leadership in their field, undertaken strategic product development benefiting their sector, or advanced technological innovation.
The following are Award Recipients:
Dairy Distillery - Lanark County
Dairy Distillery uses milk permeate (a by-product of skim milk) to create a smooth clean spirit. They are the only distillery in the world that makes alcohol from milk permeate. It is also the only distillery in the world to use a specific type of yeast for lactose fermentation. The company launched its lactose and gluten free product called "Vodkow" in 2018 and has plans for it to be available in 25 LCBO stores this year. Great news for consumers, dairy farmers and the environment.
Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario - Wellington County
The Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario's (EFAO) Farmer-led Research Program is open to all farmers interested in improving or adopting ecological practices on their farm. Started in 2016, the goal of EFAO's Farmer-led Research is to cultivate the curiosity of farmer to help them build resilient ecological farms. The EFAO provides a research library that includes protocols and reports. Program; data from trials; program reports and handouts; articles related to the program; and links to relevant farmer-led and on-farm research projects are also available on the EFAO's website.
Entomo Farms - Peterborough County
Cricket farming is traditionally completed via a bin method of farming. Entomo Farms found this process was slow and inefficient, so they developed a free-range method of cricket farming. Aware that by 2050, nine billion people will need to be fed globally, crickets provide a cost-effective way for people to have an alternative protein. The operation is a leader in providing protein alternatives in the form of the finest organic world-class insect proteins with great tasting products and recipes.
The following are Honourable Mention Recipients:
Building Roots - Toronto
Building Roots has created an affordable grocery store. The initiative supports low income residents and brings culturally relevant foods to diverse communities. This innovative idea is helping to put good nutritious food onto the dinner tables in low income urban areas. However, Building Roods doesn't stop at providing a low-cost option to food - they also provide educational opportunities via after school programs and summer camps.
Slate River Dairy - Thunder Bay District
Slate River Dairy has modified a European butter churn to be able to churn butter and pasteurize milk at the same time. This innovation is one-of-a-kind in Canada - it has reduced the amount of wasted product, while increasing sales by 29 per cent from October 2017 to April 2018. They have also done this while maintaining strict adherence to Canadian food safety standards.
BioLiNE Corporation - Lambton County
BioLiNE's innovation brings fertilizer formulators up a notch. Their unique process uses plant-based material (spent mushroom compost versus traditional soft coal sources), meaning no harsh chemicals, heat and minimal energy is used to produce fulvic acid, an organic compound used to bolster soil properties. Importantly, they are upcycling a product that would otherwise be considered waste.
Bell's Edge Farm - Wellington County
Bell's Edge Farm have partnered with a local dairy to produce and market gourmet butters, available in 80 Ontario retail stores in just a year-and-a-half of being in business. In addition, Bell's Edge Farm works together with local farms, which has increased production capacity and reduced waste. Their gourmet butters use local ingredients like garlic and maple syrup.
Ontario Farmland Trust - Guelph
Ontario Farmland Trust were recognized for their innovation which secures productive agricultural land for generations to come. They have developed a trust agreement that places non-agricultural development restrictions on certain pieces of land, permanently protecting farmland.
SoilOptix Inc. - Oxford County
SoilOptix Inc. has adopted technology from Europe that improves the soil sampling process in Canada. They use non-contact sensor that detects the soil's natural decay and the radiation it emits. The sensor has up to 30 different soil layers with a resolution of 335 data points per acre. This process is less invasive than conventional processes (grid sampling) which results in improved soil conservation.