Press Release: Avena Sustainability Advisory Panel

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Regina, Saskatchewan (August 17, 2022) – Canadian specialty pulse and oat miller Avena Foods Limited (Avena) has announced a major step forward for its sustainability program with the creation of a Sustainability Advisory Panel.

The panel comprises farmers, civil society organizations, researchers, and food and beverage companies. This dynamic team will review Avena’s sustainability initiatives, provide suggestions for the program, and identify new opportunities.

“A primary goal of this panel is to increase the rigor and legitimacy of Avena’s sustainability program,” said panel co-chair Margaret Hughes. “We hope to do this by fostering partnerships amongst the value chain, affirming the value that all contributors bring to sustainability initiatives and developing a shared understanding and approach to sustainability on the Canadian Prairies – from the farm to processing to customer.”

Learn more about Avena’s regenerative agriculture initiatives.

 Avena Sustainability Advisory Panel: Confirmed Members

For more information, please contact:

Laurie Gillies
Senior Associate, Marketing and Communications

Read the full press release

About Avena

Avena is a specialty miller that provides food, pet food and nutraceutical manufacturers with sustainably grown and milled purity protocol oat and functional gluten-free pulse ingredients.

Avena partners with our growers facilitating sustainable cropping systems incorporating rotations of oats and pulses. This, coupled with superior food safety and quality management systems, fulfills the promise of Avena Purity Protocol ‘Start Safe, Stay Safe’ gluten-free oats and our offering of Avena Best ingredients. Both product ranges are non-GMO, gluten-free and available conventional or certified organic.

 Partnering for safe, healthy diets and a sustainable world.

About Panel Members

Mike Gallais, Director, Procurement, Avena
Mike Gallais has played a key role in the development of the Best Cooking Pulses brand of split peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans. Involved in the Agriculture Industry throughout his entire career, Mike’s passion for people and pulses has been his greatest attribute. He is responsible for the procurement of both oats and pulses. Mike and the Avena Rowatt team are committed to long-term growth in both export and domestic pulse sales.

Margaret Hughes, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Avena
Margaret Hughes is passionate about the benefits of pulses and oats, both for people and for the planet. She grew up on the Canadian prairies where, since 1936, her family owned and operated Best Cooking Pulse Inc., a pulse-processing company. Margaret sits on the Pulse Processing Research Advisory Committee for North America, the Manitoba Agriculture Research and Innovation Committee and the board of Field to Market Canada.  She has previously served on several other provincial and national pulse industry boards, spoken at numerous food industry events in North America and received the Manitoba Food Processors Association (MFPA) Industry Builder Award and the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials (NAAMO) Agricultural Marketing Excellence Award.

Jean-Marc Bertrand, Dairy Procurement, Danone Canada
Jean-Marc Bertrand holds a bachelor’s degree in food science from Laval University. He has always worked in the agri-food sector, starting his career at Kraft Canada in various roles in manufacturing, quality, innovation and continuous improvement. He was subsequently appointed to Danone Canada as Procurement Director. He also sits on various committees and boards of directors of the dairy sector, including Novalait and the Conseil des Industriels Laitiers du Québec.

Todd DeKryger, PhD, Sustainable Agricultural Development, Nestlé North America Procurement
Dr. Todd DeKryger is North American Regional Manager for Nestle’s Sustainable Agricultural Development group, based in Fremont, Michigan. Todd’s duties include developing agricultural policy for Gerber and providing leadership on infant food contaminant and agricultural sustainability issues. He is a three-time Michigan State Spartan, earning a BS from the Department of Horticulture, a MS from the Department of Entomology and a PhD from the Department of Community Sustainability.

Julia Person, Sustainability Manager, Bob’s Red Mill
As sustainability manager, Julia Person puts the company’s sustainability priorities into practice, focusing on operations, supply chain and quality, while taking a continuous improvement approach to reduce environmental impacts. Headquartered in Oregon with manufacturing and distribution operations that serve national and global markets, Bob’s Red Mill produces over 400 natural food products. Bob’s commitment to sustainability is guided by supporting nutritious food and a healthy planet.

Lynnell Pomedli, Farmer and Agronomist, Seed Source
Lynnell Pomedli is a third-generation farmer and pedigreed seed grower from Saskatchewan. Lynnell holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. After graduating, she worked as the sales manager and agronomist for the retail operation of Seed Source Inc. In 2014, she launched an agricultural services business called Caliber Seed Services, which provides pedigreed seed inspections for growers. It also provides gluten-free oat inspections. Lynnell and her family farm 12,000 acres of crops including canola, wheat, barley, oats, flax, peas, soybeans, faba beans and forage grasses. Their operation makes use of crop rotation, soil testing, GPS and precision agronomics to maximize yields and to optimize the use of inputs.

Colin Rosengren, Rosengren Farms
Colin is owner-operator of Rosengren Farms near Midale, SK and a co-founder and shareholder in Canpresso, the Saskatchewan-based camelina oil pressing and roasted pulse snack food company that owns the Three Farmers brand. Colin is a pioneer in some of the leading sustainable production practices such as variable rate intercropping.  Merging modern technology with natural biological systems to increase the sustainability and resiliency of the soil is the goal of the farm.  Colin is also listed on several patents for equipment he has developed in order to implement his cropping plans.

Michael Ferguson, Farmer, Willmar Farms Ltd.
Michael Ferguson is a fourth generation producer who has modernized the family farm operation using technology and alternate management strategies. Willmar Farms implements precision farming, cover crops, and intercropping while managing both production and financial risk to keep their operation on the leading edge of innovation without sacrificing profitability. With secondary education in finance and accounting, combined with professional agronomy on the farm, Willmar looks to advance agriculture in a sustainable manner.

Lana Shaw, Research Manager, South East Research Farm
Lana Shaw is Research Manager of the non-profit South East Research Farm in Redvers, Saskatchewan. At this farmer-directed research and demonstration site, Lana collaborates with universities, Agriculture Canada, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, and private industry to develop new approaches to sustainable cropping systems for the prairies. She has become a link between researchers and farmers in biodiverse cropping practices. She is the lead consultant on the second part of Avena’s Field to Market Canada Oat and Pulse Regenerative Agriculture Innovation Project. She has worked in agronomy in Saskatchewan for 20 years. She and her husband manage a small bison herd.

Markus Weber, Director of Implementation and Technology, Field to Market Canada
Markus Weber has been working with Field to Market Canada and its predecessors since 2011. He has experience as a lawyer, a farmer/rancher, and for the past 10 years an agricultural consultant with Serecon in Edmonton, Alberta.  His focus is on the translation of advice from subject-matter experts into the online Field Print Calculator portal, which allows field-scaling modelling of sustainability outcomes.

Field to Market Canada, a partner of Field to Market in the United States, brings together a diverse group of grower organizations, agribusinesses, food companies, conservation groups, and agency partners to focus on promoting, defining and measuring the sustainability of Canadian commodity crops.