It’s a Titanic investment for Saskatchewan agriculture.
Oscar-winning film director James Cameron and wife Suzy were in Vanscoy Monday to announce the formation of Verdient Foods Inc.
Verdient’s new pulse crop processing plant is located in the town west of Saskatoon. Once fully operational, the facility will have a goal to become the largest organic pea protein fractionation plant in North America, with a capacity 160,000 metric tonnes. It will employ around 40 people in Vanscoy.
Premier Brad Wall was at the event and said project talks with the Camerons began 18 months ago. He added the facility will help expand University of Saskatchewan research and enhance the agricultural sector.
The Camerons have entered into a four-year research contract with the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre non-profit Food Centre to develop value-added organic food products. These will be produced by Canadian and global companies using ingredients from their Verdient plant.
— Chris Vandenbreekel (@Vandecision) September 18, 2017
“Both of us are so excited about working here for years to come, decades to come, with smart, conscious and innovative people who care about the earth,” Suzy said.
“Let’s go out and make the world better, one bite at a time, because Saskatchewan is the future.”
James Cameron touted the potential of growing more organic crops in the province, noting his business goal is to encourage more farmers to convert their land to grow organically.
He said the facility will start processing non-organic crops until more producers come online.
“We want to expand that organic wedge over time,” he said.
Cameron added they are looking at business models to help farmers negate the financial costs of converting their crops.
The longtime Hollywood director said the hope is to show the world how profitable growing pulse crops can be.
“You can do something that’s good for the environment for future generations, and make a profit,” he said.
“Only by that example will other people emulate what you’re doing, and only that way will we slowly steer our ship of human civilization towards a more sustainable future.”
He also noted the process to starting a business in Saskatchewan was “lightning speed” compared to California and New Zealand, where he also has agricultural holdings.
Verdient Foods Inc. is also partnering with Greg and Olivia Yuel of PIC Investment Group Inc., a Saskatchewan-based family office.
Cameron was born in Kapuskasing, Ont. and has directed a long list of Hollywood blockbusters including The Terminator, Titantic and Avatar.
He’s also a producer, screenwriter, inventor, engineer, philanthropist and deep-sea explorer.
– With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Vandenbreekel.