Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
“I am truly honoured to have been selected to be placed in such distinguished ranks, along with today’s as well as past honourees, all of whom have made great contributions to agriculture in our province; and I am humbled,” says Simone Demers-Collins. “I am reminded of the gifts which I have been privileged to have received and which were so freely given to me by so many of Alberta Agriculture’s past inductees.”
Demers-Collins is a widely recognized authority on food quality, nutrition and food safety. She has been an advocate for the agriculture and agri-food industries, an educator and food champion for over 5 decades. Through her work with the Alberta Canola Producers, the Canola Council of Canada, other industry organizations as well as the Alberta government, she led initiatives to promote accurate, science-based information about food, food production and food quality to consumers, health professionals, media, and students.
She travelled extensively to gain insight into new and trending food promotional techniques that could further the province’s commitment to Canada’s international marketing of canola. The ideas, discoveries and inspirations showcased by these events resonated for a long time on the work Demers-Collins did within Alberta’s agriculture and food industries, best exemplified in the sampler pack of regular, cold-pressed, organic, high-stability, and expeller-pressed canola oils.
Another area where Demers-Collins has excelled, and perhaps the most important, is in education. Her brainchild of producing educational curricula based on science and nutrition was brilliant. In her quest to educate, she connected with students and their families by spearheading the publication of a children’s illustrated storybook, “Fields of Home,” with historical facts embedded within a compelling story on how canola was developed in Canada. This book morphed into 15 educational graphic novels: The Chase Superman Duffy Series.
As a member of the Canola Initiative National Advisory Council, Demers-Collins was also instrumental in the development of an exhibition featuring canola at Ottawa’s Canada Ag and Food Museum. With her encouragement, this initiative expanded to a multi-platform project that included Canola: A Story of Canadian Innovation, a travelling exhibition that explores the science behind the development, cultivation, and future of canola, as well as its uses in industries from food processing to transportation. It includes hands-on interactive elements, video content, dynamic imagery, and integrated lighting, that invites visitors to discover canola through their 5 senses by immersing themselves in a canola field and a processing plant.
Demers-Collins also led the formation of the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association, envisioned the Science Alberta Foundation interactive electronic display featuring non-food uses for canola, represented commodity associations at the Feastival of Fine Chefs, managed the Alberta Horticultural Congress, and coordinated the ‘trans-fat-free’ challenge when the Calgary Stampede became the first agricultural society in North America to have its entire event trans-fat free.
Simone Demers-Collins joins Jack Lewis and Bruce Beattie as the 2022 inductees into the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame.
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