By Forrest Scharf, PAg., Provincial Specialist, Fruit Crops
The haskap industry has been very active over the past year. Following last summer’s Haskap Symposium at the University of Saskatchewan, the Haskap Canada Association (HCA) began a transformation process that changed its governance structure. HCA created a new website in early 2018 that features a consumer and a producer side, as well as health benefits and recipe components. In addition, a new corporate entity called North 49 Fruit Corporation entered the Saskatchewan/Alberta sector and is geared to pool prairie (and even Ontario) haskap supplies so markets can be served more effectively.
HCA members began to recognize the difficulty in managing a national organization while also meeting provincial sector needs. At its inception, the HCA had been headquartered in Saskatchewan (where University of Saskatchewan haskap was bred, and where most of the first growers were based), but the crop became popular across Canada and each of the provinces had unique growth needs and initiatives. Quebec’s industry is booming, and they formed their own association called Camerise Quebec. Similarly, various initiatives and organizations have been developing in the Maritimes (like the Haskap Growers Association of Nova Scotia) and in British Columbia. The BC Haskap Association had been pondering how it could coordinate with HCA, and other provinces were also interested in restructuring the organization. In order to address the problem, a number of growers spearheaded a movement at the 2018 annual general meeting to change HCA governance.
Members desiring a change in governance dominated the AGM and decided the HCA would become a council of provincial representatives. So each province with commercial growers appoints a representative to serve on the Haskap Canada council, and each province needs to organize its own provincial haskap association.
In Saskatchewan, haskap growers had been joining the HCA as their default organization and elected HCA’s board members directly, but now they have created a new organization representing Saskatchewan haskap growers. One of the leaders working towards establishment of a new Saskatchewan association is Kanden Yungwirth. Kanden was instrumental in drafting new bylaws for the proposed Saskatchewan haskap association. In order to communicate with the Saskatchewan Haskap Association, growers are encouraged to email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
North 49 Fruit Corporation also launched a website. The company has a brand tagline that states its members are “innovative Canadian fruit producers committed to supply the world with consistent, healthy Canadian fruit.”