SaskCanola Embarks on an Indigenous Recipe Project
Take a moment to think about the foods that are traditional to Canadians. What comes to mind? Is it poutine? Nanaimo bars? Ketchup chips? As it turns out, there is an entire category of traditional foods all around us that many Canadians have yet to discover.
Indeed, many of our seasonal favourites – like beans, corn, potatoes, squash and tomatoes – were originally cultivated by Indigenous people. For centuries Indigenous people have used these foods, and many others, to create delicious meals that are unique to their cultures.
Aiming to make these recipes more mainstream, SaskCanola’s market development manager Lynn Weaver dove further into Indigenous recipes with a project that highlights ingredients grown right here in Saskatchewan. SaskCanola received project funding through the Government of Saskatchewan Agriculture Awareness Initiative Program (AAIP) under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
All recipes, complete with nutritional information, are available on the websites canolaeatwell.com and canadianfoodfocus.org.
Weaver worked with an Indigenous community advisory group in Saskatchewan so that the project is meaningful, relevant and culturally appropriate.
Indigenous people have developed their own food harvesting, farming, hunting and fishing practices that have helped sustain their health and well-being. Knowledge of traditional foods has been passed down through generations with oral teaching, storytelling and sharing experiences.
Traditional diets consist of foods that are found in the natural environment, and often include wild game, fish and edible plants. Eating more traditional foods helps Indigenous people feel connected to their cultural identity and to other members of their community.
Historically, Indigenous people also understood the physical health benefits of a more traditional diet. They knew that eating a varied diet promotes good health. The acts of harvesting, berry picking, gardening, hunting and fishing provided additional health benefits, as well as being ways of staying physically active.
Among First Nations communities, the kinds of foods incorporated into traditional diets varies based on geographical location, availability of different plants, proximity to animal migration routes, and traditional hunting and fishing practices.
SaskCanola’s project features recipes provided by Indigenous community members that highlight Saskatchewan ingredients (and use canola oil!).
Recipes compiled for the project include Aunt Mabel’s haystack baked lentils from Métis Chef Jenni Lassard; cinnamon apple cake from Chef Jodi Robson (Okanese First Nation); cranberry, sage and puffed wild rice cookies from the mâmawi cafe (a student-run food program in north central Regina); three sisters salad from Indigenous Chef Kirk Ermine; wild rice salad with maple vinaigrette from Chef Douglas Hyndford (Peepeekisis Cree Nation); and savory zucchini quiche also from Chef Robson.
The six recipes are highly nutritious, versatile and combine unique flavours. For example, beans, corn and squash – known as the Three Sisters – in combination as a salad provides a balanced (and delicious) meal.
Similarly, wild rice, which is usually added to savoury dishes, is used in a re-imagined, Indigenized chocolate chip cookie recipe with cranberry and sage. Wild rice was first introduced to the northern lakes of Saskatchewan in the 1960s. Since then, the province has become the largest producer of wild rice in Canada. The recipe also uses canola oil for the added benefit of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Over the past decade, SaskCanola has produced an extensive collection of recipes, award-winning recipe booklets and online videos to promote canola use.
Sask Canola welcomes four new directors
The beginning of 2023 has been busy for SaskCanola’s staff and stakeholders. Here is a summary of recent events and collaborations.
Annual General Meeting
On January 10, SaskCanola held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Western Canadian Crop Production Show in Saskatoon.
After SaskCanola’s AGM, three new appointments took place. The Board of Directors elected Keith Fournier as board chair, Dean Roberts as vice chair, and Margaret Rigetti as audit and finance committee chair.
Four new directors
2022 was an election year and SaskCanola now has four new directors. Anthony Eliason and Jon Fehr are acclaimed for four-year terms. Margaret Rigetti and Ed Schafer are appointed for two-year terms.
Eliason farms with his family near Outlook, Saskatchewan. He earned an agronomy degree from the University of Saskatchewan and a heavy-duty mechanics certificate from Olds College. Due to the availability of irrigation and a range of soils, he grows a mix of crops that includes canola, wheat, peas and flax. Eliason previously served on the board of the Irrigation Crop Diversification Corporation (ICDC).
Fehr brings both farming expertise and grain industry experience to his board role. He worked for 18 years in the grain handling industry. With a focus on maintaining farm profitability and making sound agronomic decisions, he grows canola, pulses, cereal, grains and hay with his family near Herschel, Saskatchewan. Fehr attended SaskCanola’s Learn to Lead program in spring 2022.
Rigetti farms near Langbank, Saskatchewan where she grows winter wheat, spring wheat, barley and canola in partnership with her brother and cousin. Her main roles include grain marketing, risk management, finance and accounting. She earned her BSc in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan. Rigetti is a past director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and Grain Growers of Canada.
Schafer spent five years working in the crop protection industry prior to transitioning to full-time farming in 2002. He graduated with an agronomy degree from the University of Saskatchewan. Schafer currently grows canola, wheat, peas, barley and oats with his wife in Makwa, Saskatchewan. He previously served as president of the Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA).
Contact information for all SaskCanola Board members can be found saskcanola.com. Find “Board of Directors” under the About Us tab.
New collaboration with SaskFlax
Also in January, SaskCanola and the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission (SaskFlax) announced a new management collaboration.
Operating out of one office in Saskatoon, this collaboration means efficiencies for both crop commissions and provides a full staff complement to support both Boards. Canola and flax levies will continue to be collected separately.
In addition, SaskCanola and SaskFlax will maintain individual Boards of Directors and separate governance structures.
“As 2023 begins, SaskFlax is pleased to announce new management. Finding administrative and operational efficiencies within our industry ensures that growers’ levy dollars are put to the best use. Our commissions were created with similar mandates and key focus areas – research, extension and market development. We are excited about the opportunities this arrangement brings to oilseed growers,” says Greg Sundquist, board chair of SaskFlax.