At the annual event that has become affectionately known as the "cauliflower breakfast" the Leduc-Nisku Economic Development Assoc. hosted their September breakfast titled "The Future of Food" at the Leduc County Agricultural Services Building in Nisku.
Most of the food served this morning was grown and produced locally with the scrambled eggs coming from the Morinville Colony, the fried potatoes from Ferrybank Potato Growers, the bacon and sausage was supplied by Leduc Meat Packers, a wonderful twist on hot cereal was a barley and fruit mixture that could compete with oatmeal any day, and last but not least, utilized as both a table center as well as everyone's parting gift for the day, were the famous cauliflowers.
Leduc County Mayor John Whaley, introduced as "not just a politician but also a producer who walks the walk and talks the talk", came to the podium to thank the farmers in the audience for getting a late start in the fields this morning in order to attend the breakfast.
Local vocal phenom Brendan Guy was on hand to lead everyone in singing O' Canada, and then the new Executive Director of the LNEDA Barbara Engelbart, was inducted onstage. Barbara was introduced to the crowd as a "coup" for the LNEDA, with over 25 years of business experience and a marketing and communications professional. A graduate of NAIT with a marketing diploma as well as achieving a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and International Business from the U of A, Barbara's influence can already be felt in the organization with the hiring on of new staff members in business development and communications, as well as the adoption of a new Strategic Plan for the now Not-For-Profit Assoc. that will see them through to the end of 2014.
Six different speakers representing different aspects of food production were then welcomed up to the microphone over the course of the morning. The topics covered a wide variety of food related products and innovations, some focusing on the high tech and at times controversial, areas of modern food production, while others seemed to be looking to our past for inspiration in today's market.
Mr. Tom Lynch-Staunton from Delta Genomics spoke on their work in servicing the livestock industry by tracking the genetic traits in cattle for increased efficiency and production. By tracing the genes that make one cow thrive on less food and water but still creates a large animal with the ideal marbling/lean meat yield as opposed to another animal that might use the same amount of forage/water yet grow into a smaller, less desirable animal, is the focus of their business.
On the opposite end of the scale is Green Hectares Executive Director Wendy Schneider. Their focus in this Not-For-Profit organization is to create initiatives to educate small rural producers on different ways to market their homemade, homegrown products. Their "Community Connectors" are a group of people that provide online and hands on support that are available to help rural small business people move their products to the next level. Their motto is "Rural Tech, Rural Voices, Rural Faces," and stressing that education is the key, one of their proudest moments was teaching a pair of 80+ year old sisters how to use their computer so they could more effectively market their goods.
One of their most exciting announcements was that Green Hectares' online Entrepreneur Exchange Program will be expanding across the country as of the beginning of the new year.
At the close of the September breakfast LNEDA's new E.D. Barbara stated that despite the recent changes that have taken place within the organization one thing has stayed the same; they are still promoting the International region around the world as a wonderful place to live and do business.