Pulse Feast Sets Stage for International Year of Pulses in Canada (PCN Spring 2016) MAR 29 2016 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Pulse Crop News.
For the Canadian pulse industry, the wait is finally over. A Pulse Feast event in downtown Toronto kicked off the International Year of Pulses (IYP) in Canada on Jan. 6.
The event was hosted by Chef Michael Smith, and attracted over 180 Canadian journalists, bloggers, dietitians and members of the food industry who connected with Canadian farmers and pulse industry members. It was one of over 140 Pulse Feast events held in in 36 countries around the world that day.
While guests enjoyed pulse hors d’oeuvres and dishes from the bean, pea, lentil and chickpea food stations, Allison Ammeter, Chair of Alberta Pulse Growers, took the stage to speak about the role pulses can play in addressing global health, nutrition and environmental challenges, and the role that consumer choices play in food production. Ammeter grows pulses on her farm in Sylvan Lake and has been appointed as the Chair of the IYP Canada Committee, which is responsible for planning IYP activities in Canada.
Echoing her enthusiasm, Smith encouraged guests to start thinking of pulses as a food staple. He emphasized that pulses are an affordable, sustainable and versatile source of protein and fibre for billions of people around the world.
Throughout the night social media was buzzing about pulses. The hashtags #PulseFeast and #LovePulses both trended on Twitter. Pulse Feast also received national media attention from CBC’s The National, the Globe and Mail as well as in various Sun Media publications. Prior to the event, Smith also appeared on Breakfast Television Toronto and was interviewed by several regional CBC radio shows. Media articles continued to be published in the days and weeks following the event.
A number of IYP Canada initiatives also made their debut on Jan. 6. Pulses: The Ideal Partner, an interactive exhibit developed by the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum was featured at the Toronto event and will travel to various venues and events around the country throughout 2016 to teach Canadians why pulses are the ideal partner for our health, environment and economy. After Pulse Feast, the exhibit travelled west to appear at the Crop Production Show in Saskatoon and FarmTech in Edmonton. Other cities confirmed for 2016 include Ottawa, Quebec City, Montreal and Calgary. Stay tuned to www.iypcanada.ca to see when the museum exhibit will be coming to your area.
Also launched in January was an educational program developed by Agriculture in the Classroom Canada, a link to which is available on the APG website. The program includes a series of lesson plans that link pulses to a variety of subjects, including science, geography, health and home economics. Pulses will also be highlighted in schools across the country during Canadian Ag Literacy Week in March.
The IYP Canada Committee also broke ground on its domestic food security initiative with a new partnership with Community Food Centres Canada, a national organization dedicated to addressing the root causes of food and nutritional insecurity in Canada. Community Food Centres go beyond providing food handouts to individuals in need, and also include educational programs that enable people to build up their knowledge and skills with respect to healthy food.
The organization’s umbrella includes six Community Food Centres and nearly 100 partner organizations across Canada, including the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society and Food Matters Manitoba. The IYP Canada Committee will be developing a series of pulse-based recipes and educational resources that Community Food Centres of Canada can use and share with its partners.
Other upcoming IYP events include a two-part Pulse Ingredient Workshop Series. Part 1 of the series, Practical Use of Pulses in Healthy Foods is a three-day short course on pulse processing for food industry which runs from April 26 – 28 at the Canadian International Grains Institute in Winnipeg. Part 2, Processing Ingredients for Food Applications, will take place from Sept. 21 – 23 at POS Biosciences in Saskatoon. Registration for Part 1 is currently open and registration for Part 2 will open April 28.
Following a successful start to 2016, Pulse Canada’s goal is to sustain this momentum throughout the year as more IYP events and activities unfold. For more information, visit www.iypcanada.ca and www.iyp2016.org.