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Grain Discovery, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association Pilot Tracks the Journey of Soybeans

From where it grows to where it is consumed, our food passes through many intermediaries, and its origin is often lost.

To better track food’s path, Grain Discovery and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) used blockchain to follow locally produced certified soybeans from seed to grocery store shelves.

“This pilot is unique not only because the consumer and buyers can instantly access their food’s journey in the palm of their hand, but they can also verify the claims made by the product, like organic labeling or origin,” says Rory O’Sullivan, CEO, Grain Discovery.

A first of its kind, the pilot was supported by a $58,000 investment from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (now the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program). It also received additional support from Grain Farmers of Ontario.

“Our government is committed to supporting Canada’s soybean sector, and this innovative project will strengthen consumer trust and ensure Ontario producers are able to deliver top-quality products for Canadians and markets around the world,” says Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Science and innovation are key to ensuring that we can continue to meet demands for our safe and nutritious products at home and abroad.”

About the seed

The OAC Kent pedigreed soybean seed was developed by the University of Guelph, and was produced by Szentimrey Seeds Ltd. It endured a rigorous production and certification process to guarantee it delivers the texture, flavor, nutrition, and appearance expected by farmers and the food industry. This also ensures that specific benefits developed by a plant breeder are not lost in production.

“Canada’s seed system is recognized and respected around the globe because it ensures purity while providing a third-party verified audit trail of varietal identity,” says Doug Miller, managing director of certification and technology services at CSGA. “This blockchain pilot allows Canadian producers to tell their story in a new way that resonates with consumers. It’s a win-win for both farmers and consumers searching for options and information on where they spend their money.”

The crop was planted and harvested by Minten Farms. It was stored at Beechwood Agri Services Inc. elevator. It was processed at Ying Ying Soy Food Ltd and distributed by FreshSpoke.

While this digital passport is helpful for the consumer and farmers, it also has positive implications for food safety and export markets.

“This pilot comes at a time when food safety, transparency, and traceability have never been more important to farmers, consumers, and international markets,” says Crosby Devitt, vice president at Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We look forward to expanding on the traceability benefits of blockchain to help consumers understand safe farming practices, secure export markets, and promote Canadian agriculture.” 

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