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.
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.
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.
To support booming primary production, a network of opportunities has developed around agriculture.
The region is prime for milling operations as well as further processing food and feed ingredients given its direct access to feedstocks.
Farming requires a lot of specialized equipment, generating a need for local manufacturing. In 2016, the value of machinery owned and leased by Canadian farms was more than $31 billion.
A robust research and development network plays a pivotal role in the growth of this industry.
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.
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.