Winnipeg Free Press
Will help spur growth for Manitoba Harvest
By Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press
MANITOBA Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils has landed another round of venture-capital funding to help finance growth and strengthen its supply chain.
No totals were disclosed in the latest round of financing from Calgary-based Avrio Ventures and White Road Investments from Emeryville, Calif., but Manitoba Harvest CEO Mike Fata said it's a multimillion-dollar investment.
"This investment is to help fuel our growth," he said. "We have been growing by leaps and bounds in Canada and the U.S."
The company has been averaging 40 to 50 per cent annual growth and Fata said sales in the first five weeks of its current fiscal year have doubled last year's.
Founded in 1998, the company has a blossoming portfolio of products, from hemp beverages and hemp protein to powders, oil, butter and Hemp Hearts.
It's also expanding its distribution channel.
Before, Manitoba Harvest products were predominantly found in natural-foods stores. But now they're in Safeway and other grocery stores -- in the general produce section at that, not just the health-foods section -- as well as more than 60 Costco stores in Canada.
By Gabrielle Giroday, Winnepeg Free Press
Bet you never thought a bus part might be made with hemp, canola and flax.
But Helena Marak, Manitoba Rural Adaptation Council program coordinator, sees possibilities for the products you might be more used to encountering on the shelves of your local health-food store.
Marak stood Saturday morning with a brown University of Manitoba prototype at the Agriculture in the City event at The Forks.
"People have really found this interesting. They marvel at the strength of it. It's really, really strong, it's durable and, of course, it's made with natural fibres that are grown right here in Manitoba, so that's a big bonus," said Marak.
She said hemp fibres left over from making food products can be used for other purposes, like products for the transportation or aerospace industry such as car door panels.
The three-day event is dedicated to educating the public about farmers, agriculture science and research, and uses for Manitoba crops beyond the table.
Event organizer Reg Sims said it started in 2003 and is expected to draw thousands of people.
"At one time, everybody in the city had an uncle or a grandparent that lived on a farm. They'd go to the farm, they knew their milk came from cows, their hamburgers came from cows," said Sims. He said he believes farmers are "the greatest stewards of our land."
"Agriculture is a lot more than food," he said.
By WFP Staff Writer
WINNIPEG — Ottawa and the province teamed up Tuesday to help build a new hemp oil processing plant in southwest Manitoba.
The Manitoba government is contributing $75,000 and Ottawa, through its Community Adjustment Fund, is providing $4,895. The announcement was made Tuesday in Brandon.
The money is to go towards the building of the processing plant in Waskada by Farm Genesis Group Marketing Inc. The oil from hemp seeds is used in natural food and cosmetic products.
Farm Genesis Group Marketing is made up of 32 local farmers. The project's goal is to keep family farms in the area viable with different crops.
Canadian hemp seed exports have increased by 300 per cent and hemp oil exports by 85 per cent over the past few years as Ottawa and the province work with producers to build the hemp industry in Canada. Hemp growing has been legal in Canada only since 1998. Other products from hemp fibre include clothing and things like automotive components and construction materials.
Related Stories: Group Welcomes Provincial Money
By Winnipeg Free Press Staff
The city of Dauphin and the surrounding rural municipality are constructing a waterline to service a new 205-acres industrial park northwest of town.
The initiative is expected to be a key factor in developing a long-discussed hemp processing plant in the area.
Ottawa and the province will fund about three-quarters of the waterline’s $804,850 cost, the two levels of government announced this morning.
The federal government is contributing a little over $400,000, while the province and two municipalities are sharing the remainder of the cost.
Mayor Alex Paul said the project is important to the entire parkland region.