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Field to Glass

by Brianna Gratton

The products we are consuming go through many steps to get from the farm to us and often the origin is lost by the time it hits the shelf. But today’s consumer is increasingly interested in knowing where their food and beverages come from, how they are made, and what exactly happens to get them to their end use.

With this is mind the Field to Glass project commenced on the Olds College Smart Farm in the 2019 growing season in partnership with Decisive Farming, Grain Discovery and local micro-malthouse Red Shed Malting. Barley grown on the Smart Farm was tracked through the process to the Olds College Brewery where an exclusive batch of ‘Barley Trail’ beer was produced. This beer can is equipped with a QR code that when scanned by a mobile device links to the site that displays the story line of the barley including exactly where the seed came from, transportation, and seeding, spraying harvest, cleaning, malting and, finally, brewing.

To show the process of growing malt barley from seeding to processing to final product, Decisive provided Croptivity and My Farm Manager for data management support and to provide variable rate fertilizer and seed prescriptions. Through the software applications, Decisive was able to provide a data package that Grain Discovery accessed to create the storyline. From the farm, the barley made its way through the cleaning process to Red Shed Malting where it was malted and prepped for the brewery.  Olds College Brewery then transformed the grain into beer, resulting in the Field to Glass project. The product produced has the QR code created by Grain Discovery on the can that when scanned displays the barley’s digital passport. 

This project looks to address consumers’ growing concerns on food safety and sustainability of the supply chain and allow the supply chainit to build additional value into their product. By incorporating technology we are able to capture this information in a reliable and more efficient manner to not only benefit product farmers but also retailers and consumers. FarmProducers are proud of what they do but all too often their role is forgotten when it comes to the end- use product, this gives them a platform to show all that they have put into the product to get it from point a A to point B while increasing the overall value of the product. With the increasing interest in craft beer, people want to know what’s going into it and with this they can see the exact field that where it was grown and harvested. 

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