A blockbuster for Sask. organic pea processing

(From left) Premier Brad Wall, James Cameron, Suzy Amis Cameron, Greg Yuel, Olivia Yuel (Photo credit: Chad Reynold, Golden Media)

With growing demand for plant-based protein, Academy award-winning film director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis Cameron are getting into the pulse crop business in Western Canada.

The Camerons joined Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Monday to celebrate the launch of their new company, Verdient Foods Inc., and its new pea processing facility at Vanscoy, Saskatchewan.

Recognizing “increasing global demand for sustainable, organic plant-based protein,” they say the company will focus on processing protein, starches and fibres from organic pulse crops using a dry fractionation process. Verdient says the 160,000 metric ton facility at Vanscoy will be the largest organic pea protein fractionation plant in North America.

“For years, we’ve been on a mission to help the world eat healthy food grown by farmers who have chosen to farm organically. Jim and I are thrilled to work with Saskatchewan experts at the Food Centre, the University of Saskatchewan, and the Whitecap Dakota First Nation; all of whom have long been supporters of the mission to bring healthy food to all,” said Suzy Amis Cameron.

The Camerons have also announced a four-year deal with the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre to develop organic food products using ingredients from the Verdient Foods plant.

“We are working with Saskatchewan farmers through the Verdient Foods processing facility and the Food Centre to integrate food production with new value-added products,” noted her Canadian husband, who is currently working on sequels to the film Avatar.

The couple spoke about their personal choices to follow plant-based diets, referring to animal agriculture as “a major factor in climate change, water and air pollution, biodiversity loss and deforestation.”

The Camerons’ partners include Greg and Olivia Yuel, of PIC Investment Group Inc. Francisco Gardulski has been hired to manage the Vanscoy facility.

It hasn’t been revealed how much money the Hollywood couple has invested. James Cameron told the Canadian Press “it’s big, but we believe more than worth it or we’d be dumb.”

“Movies come and go and they’re relatively quickly forgotten, but this is something that’s lasting … we also see it as just the start of a bigger vision for the development of food products,” he said.

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