Monday, 20 November 2017 04:07

Potato Growers of Alberta celebrate 50 years of growth

Written by  Demi Knight
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After celebrating its 50th anniversary last year, the Potato Growers of Alberta association (PGA) have decided to compose a history book titled A Window to the Past and anniversary cookbook A Potato on Every Plate which will both be released this November to celebrate the successful potato growing industry within the province.


On Nov. 15 at the Sheraton hotel in Red Deer, the official book launch of these two works took place, as members of the public and the industry alike gathered to celebrate the success that this billion-dollar industry has seen over the past 50 years.
“Initially for the 50th anniversary we wanted to do a cookbook but when we took it to the board they said that they wanted us to do a history book, says Financial and communications administrator with PGA, Wendy McDonald on how the idea to compose this historical piece of work was brought to life.
After the boards idea to highlight the potato growing industry and the rich progress it had made within the province over the years within a book, the two-year journey that entailed filing through resources, contacting previous and current growers and collecting facts and figures to put together this in-depth piece of work began. 
“The Board guided us through the process of how to get the book going and then began to contact growers to ask them what they wanted to see in the book, send in stories of their past or work and submit recipes,” says McDonald.
“There were also a lot of meeting minutes, news articles and figures to go through that we decided we needed to include in book, so we contacted Alberta archives for guidance with that,” added communications and promotions specialist for PGA, Deb Brewin.
With hopes to compile as much compelling detail about the ever-growing industry within Alberta as possible, staff at PGA worked with 16 sponsors across the province to finance the resources needed to dig up all they could on potato growers throughout the years.
From pictures, news clippings, original meeting minutes and figures over the past 50 years, to a section including stories of previous and current potato growers about how they started with nothing and thrived in the industry through hard work and dedication. This book thoroughly delves into how the Potato growing business started from humble beginnings to become one of Alberta’s highest income industry. The 408-page book also is home to sections discussing who Potato Growers of Alberta are, how their research is conducted and how the association has evolved alongside the industry over the years.
“Potato growing in Alberta in 1966 was 22,000 acres in size with more fresh and table produce, and now today 50 years later we have around 55,000 acres with more provincially processed potatoes. The value added and put into the economy by growers processing is a lot and another great reason to showcase and write about the industry’s success,” added Financial Administrator and Office Manager, Cindy fletcher.
However, besides the importance of showing the impressive progress that the industry has made over the years, the staff at PGA still wanted to pay homage to these starchy treats and incorporate a special anniversary cook book along with the celebratory history book.
“When we compiled all the information, stories, photographs and recipes together we realized it was way too much, so we decided to do a separate cookbook as well as the history book to celebrate the 50 anniversary,” says McDonald on the PGA’s decision to release a cookbook alongside the history book this year.
The cookbook which includes a compilation of grower’s favourite potato based recipes, staff at PGA added will also see a small portion of profit donated to food services in the province to give back to the thriving industry.
More information on the PGA, the newest books release and the thriving potato growing industry can be found online at http://www.albertapotatoes.ca

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