SUSTAINABLE INGREDIENTS FROM THE GROUND UP
Oats and pulse are sustainable crops that benefit the environment when included in a three- or four-year crop rotation. This rotation is also referred to as a cropping system and it typically includes a pulse (e.g. peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils), a cereal (e.g. oats) and an oilseed (e.g. canola, flax).
Both oats and pulses are minimally tilled. This helps to prevent soil erosion and the resulting release of carbon from the soil into the atmosphere.
Oats and pulses do not require irrigation but grow from the moisture held in the soil. Additionally, pulse crops extract water from a shallower depth than other crops, leaving more water deep in the soil for the following year’s cereal or oilseed crop.
Pulses provide additional benefits through nitrogen fixing. The pulse plant extracts nitrogen from the air and deposits it in nodes located on their roots. These nodes are left in the soil after harvest of the crop, providing nutrition for the cereal crop (e.g. oats) that is grown in the same field the following year. This reduces the amount of fertilizer required within the crop rotation.
Oats and pulses also benefit soil health through the production of compounds that nourish soil microbes. Crop yields are typically higher in soils with a healthy microbiome, that are ‘alive’ with a diverse population of soil organisms. These organisms break down and cycle nutrients, feeding the crops as they grow. Naturally occurring soil organisms also ‘crowd out’ disease-causing bacteria and fungi.
COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY
Avena Foods is committed to building on the natural sustainability of oat and pulse ingredients. We are committed to understanding the social, environmental and economic impact of our activities on the communities where we work and on the stakeholders in our value chain.
A sustainable food system is the responsibility of everyone in the value chain and is defined as “one that provides healthy food to meet current food needs while maintaining healthy ecosystems that can also provide food for generations to come with minimal negative impact to the environment…” (The American Public Health Association, 2007).
Avena’s Sustainable Food System Encompasses:
- the farmers who supply Avena Foods with oats and pulses,
- Avena’s milling facilities
- the transportation partners,
- the manufacturers who formualte using Avena’s sustainable ingredients
- and the end customer, the final link in the value chain.
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE
Obtaining a sustainable system requires us to identify the actions needed to maximize the positive and minimize the negative impacts of our business practices and activities. The actions are known as the ‘triple bottom line’ and can be summarized as ‘people, planet, profit’, (Elkington, 1999).
Avena operates three facilities in the Canadian prairies – Regina and Rowatt in Saskatchewan, and Portage la Prairie in Manitoba. Environmentally conscious practices are encouraged at Avena and shared throughout the company.
- Customers & Consumers
- Meaningful farming and crop production
- Efforts to reduce energy consumption and waste
- Health and dietary benefits
- Mutually beneficial partnerships with our farmers and customers
- Positive work culture and safe working environment that fosters employee retention
for safe, healthy diets and a sustainable world
Our success to provide sustainable food ingredients lies in the triple bottom line. At Avena Foods, we are constantly striving to identify actions that will reduce the negative social, environmental and economic impacts of business, both in the communities where we operate and for our stakeholders. By doing so, we are helping to protect the healthy ecosystems for today, and also working to ensure that future generations will be able to meet their needs as well.
November 2010 and November 2011 Trudy Heal and Margaret Hughes, received ‘Done Deal’ (International Business Category) awards by WEConnect International,…