Chair’s Report (PCN Winter 2017) JAN 4 2017 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Pulse Crop News.
Allison Ammeter, APG Chair
As you read this, the calendar has turned over to January 2017. I can’t believe that International Year of Pulses 2016 (IYP) is now behind us, as it feels like we just got the pulse party started. Regardless of what the calendar says, Alberta Pulse Growers, Pulse Canada and the rest of the pulse industry around the world are committed to keeping the momentum of this special year going into 2017 and beyond. Consumers are realizing the incredible benefits of enjoying pulses in their foods, and producers are more than happy to grow enough for them!
The North American IYP consumer campaign reached almost three billion people. That’s a whole lot of people talking about beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas! Surveys show that a whole lot more of them now know that as a group these nutritious and tasty little dried seeds of legumes are known as pulses! Finally, I can say that I grow pulses on my farm and most people don’t need to ask what that is.
Many North Americans have taken the Pulse Pledge and made the commitment to join a global food movement to eat 1/2 cup of pulses once a week for 10 weeks, which is good for individual health and helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint. If you haven’t yet pledged, go to pulsepledge.com and do so – you’ll love the tips, tricks and recipes you get emailed once a week!
When surveyed, most of the participants said they would keep eating pulses after the 10 weeks and many accepted the challenge to ramp it up to three servings of pulses a week. That’s great news for doctors and for pulse farmers! Thank goodness we have increased our production each year, and grew a record 2.4 million acres of pulses in Alberta this past year.
I have personally shared the positive pulse message with thousands upon thousands of people in Alberta, in Canada and around the world during 2016 as I had the honour of serving as Chair, not only of the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission, but also of the Canadian IYP committee.
I always say that I am a cheerleader for pulses at home and around the world. That sounds like a lot of fun, and it is. However, it is also drawing attention to the very important issues that pulses can address, including food security, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. In fact, IYP aims to provide global solutions through four pillars: Food Security, Nutrition & Innovation; Productivity & Environmental Sustainability; Market Access & Stability; and Creating Awareness.
The special year kicked off nationally with a Pulse Feast event in downtown Toronto on Jan. 6, which was hosted by Chef Michael Smith and attracted more than 180 Canadian journalists, bloggers, dietitians and food industry reps to connect with pulse farmers and industry members. Pulse Feast was such a success in Canada and around the world that it is continuing into the future! Jan. 18, 2017 has been designated by the global pulse industry as Global Pulse Day. To ensure Global Pulse Day is a success, the pulse industry is encouraging individuals and organizations to host events celebrating and enjoying pulses on Jan. 18, and go social with #pulsefeast.
Pulse promotion through IYP continued at an exciting pace since the original Pulse Feast a year ago. I know that here in Alberta, we made the most of our special year in many ways, including having IYP recognized in the Alberta Legislature, partnering on The Alberta Pulse Showcase, a partnership with the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance, Pulse of the Month features on Twitter, hosting the Canadian Ag and Food Museum’s Pulses: The Ideal Partner display at FarmTech and Aggie Days, creating a special edition IYP 2016 calendar and much more.
In fact, more than one visitor to Agri-Trade in November asked for a 2017 Alberta Pulse Growers calendar because they enjoyed the special IYP calendar so much. Fortunately, we were able to tell them about some of the many other exciting activities APG has planned for the future, such as the all-new APG pulse recipe book to be available in the new year. (Make sure to get yours at the APG booth at FarmTech!)
Currently, the majority of Alberta-grown pulses are exported overseas, but wouldn’t it be great to create so much awareness of pulses with Albertans, that more and more stay here creating a variety of value-added processing opportunities in Alberta to supply local consumers? Here at APG, we are encouraging value-added processing through research projects, networking and communications, and would love to work with you and your ideas.
The results of the attention generated by International Year of Pulses activities have been very positive and the possibilities for further benefits to our industry are unlimited. Pulses are truly a good news story that’s worth continuing to tell!