The Canola Eat Well program is building a canola-smart group of chefs, dietitians and food writers across Canada. These ambassadors were a big help in raising canola awareness when China restricted imports of Canadian canola seed.

Chef Ned Bell, one of the Canola Eat Well ambassadors, took immediate action after China restricted Canadian canola seed imports. He went on TV encouraging Canadians to support their farmers and buy canola oil.

Chef asks Canadians to choose canola oil

When the news hit mainstream media about China restricting imports of Canadian canola seed, the Canola Eat Well community of ambassadors reached out to express concern and support for canola farmers. Canola Eat Well staff received emails, texts and messages from our chefs, dietitians and food writers asking what could they do for the canola farmers. It was an overwhelming show of support for the farming community.

Canola Eat Well is a partnership with Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola and Alberta Canola, working to enhance the canola oil brand in Canada. See more here at Canola Eat Well for Life. As part of its role, Canola Eat Well staff host various food and nutrition events each year to build awareness among key food influencers, including chefs, dietitians and food writers. These Canola Eat Well ambassadors saw the canola-China news stories every day on the TV news or national newspapers and they wanted to help.

A plan came together for Canola Eat Well to encourage and equip its ambassadors to remind Canadians how they can support canola farmers by choosing canola oil every day.

Ned Bell, executive chef at Vancouver Aquarium, took immediate action. He talked to Global News Vancouver twice with a message of support for Canadian farmers and spoke to the impact China has on his city’s labour force. “I’m a proud Canadian chef. My food is globally inspired and locally created. I just felt this urge to celebrate the Canadian farmer because they bring us our food,” Bell says. “Food is the one thing that connects every Canadian.”

See Ned Bell’s Global Vancouver interview for the BC Salmon Salad with Canola Honey Dressing recipe.

“What we also saw was concern from consumers questioning the quality of canola oil,” says Jennifer Dyck, Canola Eat Well manager. Reminding Canadians about canola oil’s high quality and health benefits was part of the message.

Another ambassador, food communicator Libby Roach, wrote about her farm experience during Canola Connect Harvest Camp, which included riding a combine with Binscarth, Manitoba farmer Paul Orsak. “Safe high-quality canola is a product you can count on,” Roach wrote. “It is versatile, affordable and distinctly homegrown. If you’re a proud Canadian like me, put your money where your mouth is, and take the pledge to make it canola.”

Canola Digest - September 2019