The Edmonton Metropolitan Region’s food and agriculture sector has deep roots and is home to both highly-developed and blossoming industries. The region hosts the entire sector value chain including high-quality primary production, a cluster of processing plants, globally-connected logistics, and a supplementary manufacturing sector.
The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is located on the Canadian Prairies, among the most productive agricultural lands on the planet. And 35% of Alberta’s best agricultural land is right here in our region. It’s one of the reasons we’re part of Canada’s plant protein supercluster.
The size of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region relative to its agricultural access provides a unique advantage. The region has roughly 1.7 million acres of farmland and is closely connected to producers across Canada. Additionally, a strong logistics network and trade agreements with 51 countries, giving access to a global market of 1.5 billion consumers, make it an ideal location to invest in the food and agricultural sector.
Through extensive research, benchmarking and data analysis the following opportunities have been identified as prime candidates for international investment.
Globally, plant-based protein is one of the fastest-growing food and agri-food sub-sectors. This growth is driven by a rising global population fueling increased global consumption and a corresponding need to find new protein sources to fulfill that demand. The Edmonton metro region is well poised for investment opportunities in the plant protein space. With access to vast fertile lands and feedstock, well-developed transportation routes aided by trade agreements, excellent talent pool of skilled labor than any other prairie province in agriculture and a supportive business environment, the Edmonton region is poised to dominate this skyrocketing global industry
Agriculture represents the largest use of land in the region, with roughly 1.7 million acres of farms covering 80% of the land. Conditions in the region are well-suited for grains, oilseeds, pulses, cannabis, hemp, and livestock production. The region has been making strides in diversifying its agriculture industry, turning to cannabis and hemp as new areas of focus. The Edmonton Metropolitan Region is one of the few locations in the world that has never experienced a region-wide crop failure.
The talent in the Edmonton region is skilled and ready. With 7 post-secondary institutions in the region, businesses have unprecedented access to skilled talent. There are 100,000 enrolled students, the region is teeming with young talent with the know-how to get the job done. Research agrees: 89% of employers in Alberta are highly satisfied with the skills and work quality of post-secondary graduates. Alberta’s primary and secondary (kindergarten to grade 12) schools are also regarded as the best in the world.
A well-integrated transportation system connects local farms and businesses on a regional, national, and international scale. Because of Canada’s commitment to trade, free trade agreements help ease global exporting. In 2016, Alberta exported approximately $10 billion in agri-food products. Almost all Canadian agricultural air traffic to Asia routes through the Edmonton International Airport due to its 24-hour freight services and shortest-in-Canada flight times.
A robust research and development network plays a pivotal role in the growth of this industry.
In this growing business climate, industries are looking for ways to enhance the sector and make activities more profitable, efficient, and eco-friendly.
APBI is a multi-tenant facility located in Leduc that provides the infrastructure and services to support agricultural-based businesses.
DuPont Pioneer is a facility with an automated greenhouse and 2 research labs with a primary focus on the development of new crop hybrids.
The FPDC is an agri-food product development facility designed to strengthen and expand the capability of Alberta’s food processors to meet market challenges through new technology and the development of new or improved products and processes.
Innotech conducts crop research, working with alternative crops and developing resilient strains.
The Protein Supercluster is a $4.5 billion federally-funded supercluster created to promote and grow the plant-based protein industry.
UAlberta is home to an entire graduate department dedicated to the advancement of food and nutritional science. The department is the first of its kind in North America, reflecting the integration of many disciplines.
Our strength in food and agriculture has lead to growth and innovation in the machinery manufacturing sector and more revolutionary farming approaches. Local experts are creating world-class air seeders, advanced spraying systems, precision GPS seeding technologies, and harvesting machinery, to name a few.
With an established strength in primary production, the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is diversifying its crop yield and focusing on the new international demand for cannabis and hemp products. We are sowing the seeds of opportunity with forward-thinking laws, ample farmland, and dedicated research and development.
In 1996, Angela Santiago and her father, Jacob van der Schaaf, decided it was time to test out a big idea for little potatoes. The family business got to work cultivating little, nutritious, flavourful spuds that cook in no time.
Since humble beginnings of testing the market and washing batches of potatoes in a bathtub, the growth of The Little Potato Company has been anything but little. By 2000, Angela and Jacob bought their first plant with modified equipment to handle the specialized needs of Creamer potatoes. Within 4 years they had expanded production in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
Aurora Cannabis is a medical cannabis company based in the region. Aurora Sky, the company’s 800,000-square-foot high-tech greenhouse, is the largest cannabis production facility in the world. The facility is strategically located next to the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) for easy international transportation. Aurora also takes advantage of prime office space in downtown Edmonton.
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