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Prairie Innovation Centre to build on Assiniboine’s agri-food philosophy

A plate of food in the bottom left of the frame is held by a student whose torso is visible in the background. The student wears a black tie on a white shirt and the food appears to be carrots and other vegetables with beef in the middle of the plate.

As Manitoba’s agricultural college, Assiniboine Community College has taken a familiar term that refers to the agri-food chain, “Field to Fork”, and made it a guiding light of our vision.

At Assiniboine, Field to Fork is a collection of initiatives dedicated to strengthening the local food chain through education, research and outreach. We work passionately to increase food security, and that helps build stronger communities.

Students at the college’s North Hill campus can find locally grown food with just a stroll to the 3.2-acre plot or sustainable greenhouse, even in the coldest winter months. Many of these fruits, veggies, herbs and sprouts will make their way to a dinner plate, but not before being part of exceptional learning opportunities along the way.

Harvest Unleashed

Assiniboine’s North Hill campus is home to a bountiful harvest every year, thanks to the hard work of students and faculty. From seedling to harvesting, these items are the focus of research and education projects for Horticultural Production and Sustainable Food Systems students.

Crops are picked from late August to September and make their way to our Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts. Here, Culinary Arts students create dishes that are featured at renowned college events throughout the year.

Greenhouse Glory

Assiniboine faculty researchers are concluding a long-term research project that explores greenhouse production and the impact it has on food security in northern climates.

This Field to Fork project studies the production of food in three different greenhouse models: a low-tech greenhouse bay that relies primarily on passive solar heat, a medium-tech greenhouse bay that is heated via passive solar and glycol-filled solar thermal collectors and a conventional, industry standard bay.

Students work alongside instructors on this research, which is intended to identify best practices for extended growing seasons, even into the winter months. This gained knowledge will be shared with interested communities throughout the province.

Food Processing for Animal Proteins

Animal proteins are also an integral part of Field to Fork at Assiniboine. Through partnerships with Maple Leaf Foods and HyLife, we are training people for in-demand positions. The highly popular Protein Pantry retail shop allows the public to purchase the fruits (or, meats?) of our students’ labour. Bringing these products, as well as unique jams, jellies and other goods from our Culinary Arts and Baking Foundations programs, to life and to market is a great example of the learn by doing components of our Field to Fork initiatives. Not to mention that products like jams and jellies are born from our on-site heritage orchard.

Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture

The Prairie Innovation Centre is Assiniboine’s vision for the future of agriculture, and will build on the Field to Fork foundation already laid.

The Centre will offer:

First-class science labs and computing spaces for flexible joint-use teaching and applied research.

Hybrid classroom and computer labs with state-of-the-art technology for hands-on collaborative learning.

Applied research space embedded within teaching spaces, flexible and adaptable to changing projects and industry partners.

New programs aimed to meet growing industry demand will bloom in the Prairie Innovation Centre, focusing on agribusiness, primary agricultural production and management, food production and processing, agricultural and environmental technologies, and environmental stewardship. In Manitoba, we are proud stewards of the land, and the Prairie Innovation Centre will be the cornerstone and showcase of that pride.

Field to Fork at Assiniboine - strengthening the local food chain through education, research and outreach.