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Co-op connects farm to table

By Daniel Jungwirth

September 11, 2019

Co-op places a priority on sourcing our food products from Western Canada. Our involvement at multiple stages of the food-production cycle is unique and has developed over time. This cycle moves from supplying growers with fuel and crop inputs and working directly with food manufacturers to stocking the resulting products in Co-op Food Stores.

Farms and gardens

A relatively short outdoor growing season is supplemented by expanded greenhouse operations that allow some products – such as cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuce – to be produced locally and be available at Co-op throughout the year.

We support grower research and innovation, whether it’s seed varieties or growing techniques, including using LEDs and capturing and reusing heat and carbon dioxide in greenhouses.

“Because of the stability of our partnerships, producers have been able to invest and expand their operations, providing Co-op shoppers with an increasing supply of local, in-season fruits and vegetables grown at home,” said Lindsay Young, Procurement and Category Development Manager at FCL.

The Grown with Purpose initiative and our Sustainable Fish and Seafood Policy are also helping ensure we have a safe and sustainable food supply for the long term.

Food manufacturing

We work directly with large and small food manufacturers to produce CO-OP®-brand products, which offer unique value to our customers.

These products range from flash-frozen fruits and vegetables from British Columbia to delicate potstickers from Alberta, Italian-style cookies from Manitoba and smoked meats from Saskatchewan.

We’re proud to support the economic development in northern communities. Our Co-op Gold Pure Fish Fillets – northern pike, walleye and trout sourced from fishers’ co-ops – won a Canadian Grand Prix New Product Award in 2019, along with two other local products.

FCL is also supporting the local food manufacturing industry by using resources like the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre, where our smoked meats and fruit spreads are produced. In 2018, FCL invested $500,000 to introduce canning production and increase condiment production at the Agri-Food Innovation Centre in Saskatoon.

In doing all of this, we continue to build our local communities while providing our members and communities with safe, high-quality products.