Written by Nancy Mak, Website Specialist, The Winnipeg Foundation
Winnipeg is full of amazing and unique things that I love and I just discovered another one. In the heart of our downtown we have the highest elevated flour mill in Canada.
My third class with Leadership Winnipeg was at the Canadian International Grains Institute, Cigi, located in an unassuming building (the one with yellow metal sculpture) just south of Portage and Main.
The organization is spread across more than 10 floors and includes the mill room (itself spans three floors), a pasta room, two bakeries and much more. All filled with smaller versions of commercial equipment used to analyse and assess Canadian grains, wheat and pulses (lentils, peas, chickpeas, etc).
I spent the morning touring the facility and my inner science geek and foodie was keen to listen to their process of grinding small batches of flour and making pasta, noodles and bread to determine the qualities and properties of the grains. This unbiased information is provided to millers and end-users of Canadian grains around the world to ensure consistent and high-quality products.
In the afternoon we heard from four people working in different parts of the agriculture industry, which I was surprised to learn employs 1 of 8 people in Canada.
Ellen Pruden, Manitoba Canola Growers, gave us an overview of Agriculture in Manitoba and specifically the canola industry.
Sue Clayton, Agriculture in the Classroom, spoke about how important it is to incorporate learning about where our food comes from into our education system.
Dr. Mark Belmonte, Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba, reminded me of my university science lectures (in a good way) with his explanation of how biotechnologies, such as Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, CRISPR, and RNA interference, are providing alternatives to using broad spectrum pest/fungicides.
We also heard from Simon Ellis, a farmer near Wawanesa, Manitoba, about how farming has changed significantly over the years. The use of technology, like GPS and drones, and focus on sustainability is an increasing part of his farm business.
I came away with a new appreciation of our agriculture industry. There is a lot of information about all aspects of the industry and it is important that everyone we research where this information is coming from and form our opinions based on science instead of social pressure.
On a side note, Cigi is working to incorporate more pulses into snack foods to increase their protein and nutrients content so I’m eagerly anticipating a “healthier” cheezy puff.
The Winnipeg Foundation