Pulse Beat Individual Articles

Getty Stewart

Educating Consumers on the Benefits of Beans

By Ashley Robinson

GETTY STEWART IS a professional home economist and food educator, and she is the new face of Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) on the TV show Great Tastes of Manitoba. She grew up on a grain farm in southwestern Manitoba and has family members who farm to this day. The Pulse Beat team sat down with Stewart to learn more about the work she does to teach consumers about beans. To read more about her and the work she does, visit her website – www.gettystewart.com – where she shares information about local fresh food.

Pulse Beat (PB): As a home economist, what are some of the harder questions you’ve received from consumers in regards to beans as a food choice?

Getty Stewart (GS): I think probably the biggest concern people have is about digesting beans and possibly experiencing some bloating or gas. The carbohydrates and fibres of beans can be challenging
for some people. Some can experience those symptoms. Beans can make you toot. Fun fact on that, everyone toots on average about 14 times a day. It’s a natural part of who we are. Beans, because of their high fiber, can contribute to that.

PB: Do you incorporate the work farmers do to grow beans into your consumer education? If so, how?

GS: I’m such a big fan of our local farmers and sharing the Farm to Fork journey is definitely something I’ve tried to talk about whenever I can. Most of my work in my freelance business and as a food educator focuses on using our locally grown foods, whether it’s from our local farmers or from our own gardens. I share what I learned having grown up on a grain farm where we grew cereal crops, oilseeds, soybeans and lentils.

PB: Are you ever asked about where beans come from by consumers? If so, how do you respond when you’re asked?

GS: Very few people out a start a conversation asking about where beans come from. I think that’s important for us in the promotion and communication about beans to acknowledge that people aren’t actually asking that question. But once we start the conversation and say, “Hey, those beans that you’re eating, they actually came from within a 100-mile radius of here.” That’s when they sort of perk up and go, “What? Like I had no idea.”

PB: What impact has the Love CDN Beans campaign had on consumers? How has it impacted your education work with consumers?

GS: I know that from my own experience, that food is a great way to start the conversation. If people aren’t asking me questions necessarily about, “Hey, where’s this from?” the recipes and sites like Love CDN Beans help showcase how versatile and delicious beans can be just through photography and the stories that are being told. That’s whetting the appetite and encouraging Canadians to use our homegrown beans and an opportunity to share information on how and where beans are grown.

PB: Are there any messaging challenges when it comes to promoting beans as a food choice?

GS: There’s the perception that beans take a lot of work to cook and just not a general sense of awareness of what do I do with them. My challenge to you would be name three bean dishes that you enjoy repeatedly. That’s the challenge right there as many people who grew up on a traditional Prairie diet have limited experience using beans in everyday cooking. You can probably think of, “Oh, I love chili.” That’s not all beans are good for, there are many more opportunities that people just don’t know about.