Press Release: Grain Discovery and the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association Pilot Next Generation of Food Traceability

April 30, 2019

This first-of-its-kind pilot used blockchain to follow Certified soybean seed through production and processing, ending with fresh-packed tofu on store shelves.

Grain Discovery in partnership with the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) have leapt into the future of farm-to-table traceability with a pilot that used blockchain to follow locally produced Certified soybean seed through production and processing, ending with freshly packed tofu hitting grocery store shelves. This first-of-its-kind pilot was supported by an investment of $58,000 from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (now the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program) and through additional support from Grain Farmers of Ontario.

The intention of the pilot was to provide a mechanism for the Ontario soybean supply chain to meet consumer demand for transparency and build additional value into their product at home and internationally. This was achieved by recording every step the soybean seed took in real-time onto one blockchain, creating a digital food passport that could be accessed by scanning a QR code on the final packaged product.

“Our government is committed to supporting Canada’s soybean sector, and this innovative project will strengthen consumer trust and ensure Ontario producers are able to deliver top-quality products for Canadians and markets around the world,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Science and innovation are key to ensuring that we can continue to meet demands for our safe and nutritious products at home and abroad.”

“From where food is grown, to where it is consumed, our food passes through many intermediaries and provenance is often lost,” said Rory O’Sullivan, Grain Discovery CEO. “This pilot is unique not only because the consumer and buyers can instantly access their food’s journey in the palm of their hand, but can verify the claims made by the product, like organic labelling or origin.”

The Certified soybean seed used in this pilot is the result of a rigorous production and certification process which ensures that specific benefits developed by a plant breeder are retained through the production process, and delivered to farmers and the food industry – guaranteeing genetic identity, purity and food ingredients that reliably deliver the texture, flavour, nutritional characteristics and appearance expected.

“Canada’s seed system is recognized and respected around the globe because it ensures purity while providing a third-party verified audit trail of varietal identity,” said Doug Miller, Managing Director of Certification and Technology Services at CSGA. “This blockchain pilot allows Canadian producers to tell their story in a new way that resonates with consumers. It’s a win-win for both farmers and consumers searching for options and information on where they spend their money.”

While this digital passport is helpful for the consumer and farmers, it also has positive implications for food safety and export markets.

“This pilot comes at a time when food safety, transparency and traceability has never been more important to farmers, consumers and international markets,” said Crosby Devitt, Vice President at Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We look forward to expanding on the traceability benefits of blockchain to help consumers understand safe farming practices, secure export markets and promote Canadian agriculture.”

The OAC Kent pedigreed soybean seed used in this pilot, a variety developed by the University of Guelph, was produced by Szentimrey Seeds Ltd., planted and harvested by Minten Farms, stored at Beechwood Agri Services Inc. elevator, processed at Ying Ying Soy Food Ltd and distributed by FreshSpoke.

You can follow the soybean journey at  

About Grain Discovery 

Founded in Ontario in 2018 by leaders in the commodities, blockchain, trading systems and data fields, Grain Discovery is committed to untangling the complicated supply chain for grains, using blockchain technology to increase the transparency, security, efficiency and traceability of the agricultural supply chain and beyond.

About Canadian Seed Growers’ Association 

Founded in 1904, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) is a non-profit association representing 3,500 Canadian seed growers and is identified in Canada’s Seeds Act as the authority for seed crop certification of all pedigreed seed crops except potatoes. The Association sets pedigreed seed crop production standards for over 50 crop kinds and annually certifies over 18,000 fields of 2,100 varieties. CSGA is committed to advancing the industry with partners, delivering and promoting a flexible, responsive, and cost effective seed certification system in Canada.

About Grain Farmers of Ontario

Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $2.5 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $9 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 40,000 jobs in the province.

Media Contacts

Caroline Lafontaine 
Canadian Seed Growers’ Association
Managing Director, Communications and Client Services
613-236-0497 x 225

Victoria Berry
Grain Farmers of Ontario
Manager, Communications

Alison Matthews
Grain Discovery