Premier Celebrates Top Made-in-Ontario Innovations in Agri-Food
Farmers, Processors and Organizations Recognized at Annual Awards and Summit
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Ontario's highest honour for innovative solutions supporting the province's powerhouse agri-food industry today at the 11th annual Premier's Awards for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence.
Stouffville-based Greenbelt Microgreens received the top honour of the Premier's Award for developing an eco-friendly process to grow organic microgreens year-round. The company's state-of-the-art facility grows nutrient-dense sunflower sprouts, pea shoots, wheat grass and other microgreens that can be produced on an average 10-day growth cycle, with a shelf life of 13 days.
The Minister's Award was presented by Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, to Mississauga-based SunPillar Inc./Two Bridges Vineyards for developing Hive Health, a product designed to fit inside a standard commercial beehive that helps producers monitor bee health without having to disturb their bees.
Three Leaders in Innovation Awards were also presented to:
- Moyers Apple Products, based in Beamsville, for developing a chemical-free, waterless sanitizer for produce that reduces health risks and increases shelf life
- Freshwater Cuisine, based in Kenora, for creating popular food products that minimize food waste by incorporating all parts of freshwater fish
- Fresh Air Media (Andrew Campbell), based in Strathroy, for raising awareness of the journey from farm to table through social media and helping to bring rural and urban communities together.
The Premier's Awards are presented at the annual Summit on Agri-Food, which brings together industry leaders from across the province. This year, attendees explored how Ontario is growing its agri-food sector at home and abroad, with discussions on trade and collaboration, as well as what's next in agri-food innovation.
Supporting innovation in agriculture is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- Ontario is a global hub for agri-food innovation. The province’s agri-food sector supports more than 800,000 jobs and contributes more than $37 billion towards the province’s gross domestic product.
- Since 2007, the program has received more than 1,700 nominations, with $4.25 million distributed to 525 award-winning innovators.
- In 2017, 50 innovators from across the province were recognized with regional Agri-Food Innovation Excellence Awards.
- The U.S. is Ontario’s top trading partner, with two-way agri-food trade totalling about $28.8 billion in 2016.
“Ontario’s agriculture sector is internationally recognized because of the dedicated, passionate and skilled workers behind it. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and finalists for asking the imaginative questions that have led to these made-in-Ontario innovations. And thank you to everyone in agri-food for playing a vital role in creating the industry’s jobs of tomorrow, as well as making Ontario even more competitive in the global agri-food market.”
“Year after year, these awards showcase outstanding individuals across the province whose innovative ideas are helping grow Ontario’s agri-food sector for today and tomorrow. I’d like to congratulate this year’s recipients and thank them for their commitment to strengthening Ontario’s world-class agri-food sector and positioning our province for continued economic growth.”