Farmer Show and Tell
Canola a key ingredient in body care products
When Adriana De Luca launched her line of all-natural body products in 1999, she did it armed with the soap-making skills she learned from her Nonna. Today, Tiber River Naturals, with nearly 400 home-based consultants, 60 employees and legions of raving fans across the country, continues to grow, recently being named in Profit Magazine’s 2016 Top 500. That success comes in part from one constant pillar of their business mantra. “We like exploring, testing, adapting and changing. We never stand still.”
So when offered the chance to learn a little bit more about one of the key ingredients in so many Tiber River products, De Luca jumped at the opportunity.
“I believe the main reason our products are so effective is the canola oil we use,” De Luca said. “I wanted to understand more so I could pass on this information when I talk about why we use canola oil.”
The opportunity to share information came in typical Prairie style—someone knows someone. That someone was Karen Holyk, one of Tiber River’s long-time home-based consultants. Her father, Bruce Dalgarno, is a Manitoba canola grower and champion of the industry, having served as chairman of the Canola Council of Canada and president of both Manitoba Canola Growers and Canadian Canola Growers. With the help of Manitoba Canola Growers, all the players came together for an information learning session at Tiber River’s new production facility in Winnipeg.
De Luca was getting some questions from consultants about the use of canola oil and GMOs (genetically modified organisms), which often get negative attention in the public spotlight. To shed some light on the benefits of canola as a GMO product, Dalgarno set up a simple display comparing a typical planting year today and 20 years ago. With the advent of GMOs that perform much better, the soil is worked far less and fewer pesticides are needed to produce better yields in today’s modern farming practices. This kind of evidence fits in nicely with Tiber River’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness.
“I think it’s phenomenal to be able to do this,” Dalgarno said. “To be able to show a customer what we do and why we do it. It’s a fantastic opportunity to tell our story to someone who is asking the questions.”
Members of the Manitoba Canola Growers also shared some insight into sustainability. They demonstrated the amount of surface area available on the planet to grow crops. If the earth were an apple, only the skin of a slice measuring 1/32 of the entire fruit would be farmland. It shows just how important it is to coax maximum, yet sustainable yields from the earth’s resources.
“I so loved learning new things, gaining a better u nderstanding of farming in general and canola in particular, as well as meeting Bruce and hearing his stories,” De Luca said. “I could see his love and passion for this.”
About Tiber River Naturals:
The all-natural line up includes soaps, lotions, scrubs, shampoos, lip balms, essential oils and products for the home. The company has two spas in Winnipeg that offer manicures, pedicures and facials. Products are available at select retail locations, online and through a network of home-based consultants. In 2005, Michelle Lalonde joined the company as a partner and together the pair continues to explore new avenues of expansion. There are plans to move into the US, launch a line of pet care products and see the network of home consultants grow to nearly 1,000 this year.
Do farmers bring value to trade missions?
By Sandi Knight
Canola is Canada’s top agricultural export to China, accounting for 40 per cent of canola seed exports. Maintaining this market is essential for the canola industry and the 43,000 Canadian farmers who grow it.
Jack Froese, a farmer from Winkler, director and treasurer of the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, and now Chair of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, visited China last November. He was part of the Team Canada Trade Mission led by the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Producers attending trade missions are seen as a trusted, credible source of reliable, accurate information. When exporters have questions about agronomy and specific farm practices, such as crop rotation or pesticide use, farmers can address those queries. This helps build relationships and confidence in crop quality.
Froese states it is also an opportunity to find out what competitors are doing. You see the intricacies of the whole system in getting our crop from the bin to the plate. You find out how easily a market can disappear with changes in governments, their food policies, legislation, currency, transportation or stance on biotechnology. When we export 90 per cent of our canola, awareness of the challenges in the global marketplace at the producer level is crucial in adapting and being prepared to comply with changes as they happen.
Whether it be trade missions, meetings at home or abroad, Froese has found his involvement with the MCGA, CCGA and other farm organizations to be very rewarding: seeing firsthand the ripple effects of what happens beyond the farm gate, gaining a better understanding of trade, policy and transportation, being part of a team responsible for getting Canadian products to customers around the globe. It has broadened his awareness of safety net programs, sustainability, marketing, food integrity, storage, environmental and social sciences issues that impact his farm and those of farmers in Manitoba.
However, without his son running the day-to-day operations of their family farm, along with a nephew and three other employees, Froese knows he wouldn’t have the time or flexibility to contribute. He encourages producers to take on active roles – at whatever level their operation allows. He admits while it does take time away from the farm, “If I didn’t have a passion for it, I wouldn’t be there.”
MCGA Presents the Canola Award of Excellence
By Alison Inglis
The Manitoba Canola Growers Association has awarded Dr. Carla Taylor with the 2017 Canola Award of Excellence for her contributions to the canola industry. Dr. Taylor, and her collaborator Dr. Peter Zahradka and their team of trainees and staff at the Canadian Centre for Agri-food Research in Health and Medicine, have been researching the health benefits of canola oil for more than a decade.
Dr. Taylor grew up on a family farm near Oak Lake, Manitoba and from an early age showed an interest in the connection between the foods we grow and our health. She began her education in foods and nutrition at the University of Manitoba where she learned from Drs. Bruce McDonald and Vivian Bruce – researchers who are internationally recognized for their research on the nutritional properties of canola oil. Next, she pursued her PhD at the University of Guelph. Subsequent to that, she studied at the University of Michigan and the University of Washington.
“When I was looking for employment, there happened to be an open position at the University of Manitoba. It wasn’t until I got back here and developed my own research program that my work evolved into studying canola oil. It’s kind of neat that I’ve come back to work in the same department where I learned from some of the pioneers of canola oil research in my early years of education,” said Taylor.
Dr. Taylor alongside Dr. Zahradka and their team have been working on the connections between obesity, cardiovascular health and diabetes and the food we produce, like canola oil.
Their research with canola oil looks at what can be done from a nutrition standpoint at the early stages of diseases (metabolic syndrome) to help prevent cardiovascular disease or diabetes from developing further. They have been able to show how diet can make a difference.
The Manitoba Canola Growers are proud to recognize Dr. Taylor for her contributions to the canola industry through her extensive research with canola oil and its connection to our health and nutrition.
Visit CanolaGrowers.com for more information.
Canola Award of Excellence winner Dr. Carla Taylor, principal investigator, metabolic nutrition, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre; professor, Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba.