I was at the Canadian Produce Marketing Association‘s industry-only tradeshow earlier this month, at the invitation of Half Your Plate, eating my weight in the best of the best of fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce was tremendous and the food was delicious, but what really got me excited was CPMA President Ron Lemaire’s update on some of the cutting-edge trends and ideas that are poised to change the way we grow, buy and eat food. Here are just a few.
- Growing Food Where We Live. A new condo being built in Toronto, called The Plant, features a greenhouse and microgarden on-site. This is music to the ears of all the urbanites who would love to have homegrown herbs, tomatoes and rhubarb (also, I’m jealous — I bet they won’t have to fight off squirrels and raccoons like I do!). Next, I’d love to see a modular-type of pop-up greenhouse that could be installed on the roof of any condo or tall building.
- Container Growing, Big Time. This isn’t herbs in planters on your balcony, but huge shipping containers modified to be little greenhouses. Lemaire specifically mentioned this as a potential partial solution to the struggle to get fresh fruit and veg to the people of Canada’s North.
- Robot Farmers. Imagine a tiny drone, just 4 cms wide, that can pollinate plants. It picks up the pollen on its belly (covered in gelled horsehair) then spreads the love around like a robotic busy bee. Amazing. Amazing.
- Roots-Up Dew Collector. This ingenious device lets farmers in arid climates (think: desert) harvest moisture from the air and use it to nourish their crops.
There is so much to say on the state of food, agriculture, grocery shopping, cooking, nutrition and the economy — and much of it is often just plain depressing. It’s these kinds of exciting innovations that give me hope. Technology might seem like the enemy of farming, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Onward!!
And here are a few of my favourite new products from the trade show floor:
Gold Nugget Mandarins: Ugly but gloriously sweet and very easy to peel. By Sunkist.
Mini Munchies: Little packs of kid-sized (and delicious) cherry tomatoes, mini bell peppers and itty-bitty cucumbers, perfect for kids’ lunch boxes. Thomas loved! By Pure Flavour.
Pasta Mushrooms: Sliced mixed mushrooms pre-sliced and ready to cook. I love that these packs mean I can have a little bit of each type of mushroom, instead of having to buy a large pack of each one. By Highline.
Mini Bakers: I adore baked potatoes, but a classic Russet potato is too big for one person. These are the perfect size! By Cavendish.
Thanks to Half Your Plate for the invite — I’ve never felt so healthy at a conference or tradeshow!!
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