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Edmonton International Airport teams up to “ag-celerate” food exports

Edmonton International Airport (EIA) is launching a new manufacturing facility to help emerging Canadian food innovators access new markets by filling a regional gap in food manufacturing.

With a federal investment of $550,000 through Western Economic Diversification Canada, EIA will partner with the Edmonton-based Uproot Food Collective and convert a former flight kitchen space into a new federally certified food production and contract packaging facility. Uproot Food Collective will be the first long-term tenant of the new Ag-celerator at EIA and will co-lead the construction of the facility with a design focused on advanced food production that offers scalable services for small business food manufacturers.

The facility will keep food manufacturing jobs in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region and increase capacity for value-added production as a growing component of EIA’s Airport City Sustainability Campus. EIA is expanding its role as an engine for economic development and job creation by increasing national and global access for Canadian-made food products.

The location gives members of the facility close access to EIA’s Fresh Cargo Centre. Edmonton International Airport is one of Canada’s premier cargo airports, particularly in the movement of goods between Asia and North America. Since 2013, over $150M has been invested in cargo infrastructure, including temperature-controlled facilities to support Alberta agri-food exports. Over the next two years, EIA will significantly expand the Fresh Cargo Centre as part of an ambitious $36M air cargo expansion.

“The world needs what we grow in Alberta and across the Prairies. By investing in this new food processing facility, we are ensuring that our producers have access to key services, including certification, packaging, food safety, and retail order tracking that will allow them to reach national and global markets.”

  • The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister and Special Representative for the Prairies, on behalf of the Honou
    rable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Canada is one of the world’s top agricultural producers. Now’s the time to build on that competitive advantage and truly grow agri-food processing and manufacturing. We’re passionate about working with innovators such as the Uproot Food Collective. We’re focused on helping these small and medium-sized businesses scale and ramp up production to access global markets.”

  • Tom Ruth, President and CEO, Edmonton International Airport

“Our collaboration with EIA provides a great opportunity to grow the value-added food sector throughout Western Canada, EIA’s goal of fostering regional economic development is a great fit with our mission to get great emerging brands onto more consumer’s dining tables.”

  • Chris Lerohl, CEO Uproot Food Collective

“EIA is Canada’s innovation airport. This is one more example of their creative approach to the economic impact an airport can have on a community. This collaboration with Uproot Foot Col

lective will provide opportunities to add value to Alberta’s and Western Canada’s agri-food and agri-tech sectors and help local producers access the world,”

  • Malcolm Bruce, CEO Edmonton Global

Quick Facts

  • The new facility is valued at approximately $7.5M and is 1,650 square metres in size
  • The facility will be overseen by an advisory team who will assist companies in their strategy, operations, marketing and sales
  • EIA will provide guidance to help members with business improvements in food production, marketing, sales and other key business areas.
  • Approximately 65 per cent of Canada’s food manufacturing and processing occurs in Ontario and Quebec with Alberta and British Columbia making up 21 per cent
  • The space is designed for primarily food production with member companies having their corporate offices located elsewhere

The EIA facility will also work collaboratively with the Food Processing Development Centre (FPDC) in Leduc. That FPDC helps early-stage food innovators test concepts and start planning their initial business developments. The two facilities will work together to foster innovation and increase value-added production capacity, creating more jobs and businesses in Alberta.

Design and construction of the facility will start immediately to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2021. For more information, including application information, please visit
flyeia.com/ag-celerator.

About Edmonton International Airport

Edmonton International Airport is a self-funded, not-for-profit corporation whose mandate is to drive economic prosperity for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Edmonton Airports managed Edmonton International Airport (EIA), and owns and operates Villeneuve Airport (VA). EIA is Canada’s fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic and the largest major Canadian airport by land area. EIA offers non-stop connections to destinations across Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe. EIA is a major economic driver and has attracted over $1.3 billion in investment to our property over the last few years. EIA’s Airport City Sustainability Campus is a living lab for accelerating the development, testing, implementation, and commercialization of technology. EIA’s Airport City Sustainability Campus propels new jobs, tourism, and economic diversification – and creates a destination in and around EIA, featuring entertainment, e-commerce, retail, hospitality, cargo/logistics, bio-pharma, light manufacturing and many other industries.

For more information, please visit flyeia.com, or follow @flyeia on TwitterInstagram,  LinkedIn or Facebook.

About Uproot Food Collective

Uproot Food Collective has developed a scalable commercialization platform for a growing portfolio of locally inspired brands by creating the necessary infrastructure, systems, marketing, and sales channels to take amazing and emerging products from local markets to national and international distribution.  With Uproot’s vertical integration of operations, technology, marketing, sales, and distribution, it offers a broad and scalable range of capabilities and capacities that enable a viable path for market growth beyond Western Canada.  The goal at Uproot is to reduce the traditional operational and market barriers emerging local brands face in growing their business beyond regional boundaries.

Together, focused on the goal of reaching more markets, Uproot Food Collective companies can make more food people love and reach a wider audience.  The operations and business side are all under one roof too—from bar-codes to food safety to marketing to nation-wide distribution.  Uproot offers the necessary business development experience, operations and market access on a scalable platform that enables companies to viably grow their business.

About Western Economic Diversification Canada

For more than 30 years, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) has been working to diversify the western economy while improving the quality of life of western Canadians. It has a mandate to build a strong, competitive West by focusing on business development, innovation, and community development, as well as advocating on behalf of Westerners by representing the western perspective in national programs, policies, and projects. For more information, please visit wd-deo.gc.ca or follow WD on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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