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Pioneer PBS to launch a series examining plant-based proteins

March 16, 2023

Pioneer PBS’s public affairs program, Compass, is launching a year-long video and print journalism collaboration project, looking into the roots and impact of the plant-protein phenomenon that’s exploding across the globe. Called 'Minnesota’s Alt-Meat Revolution', the project is a partnership between Pioneer PBS, West Central Tribune and WORLD Channel, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Over the course of the next year, Pioneer PBS will produce six stories examining the impact of plant-based proteins on current agricultural, cultural and dietary trends – and on the rural community of Dawson. Each video story will be accompanied by an article by Tom Cherveny of the West Central Tribune.

The first episode and article in the series will be available on Friday 17 March. This segment examines the history of plant-based processing in Dawson. Soybean processing in Dawson began in 1951 with the opening of the Tri-County Cooperative Soybean Processing Association. In 1969, the plant changed its name to Dawson Mills and started thinking about how it could get more economic value out of their soybeans. Dawson Mills built a new facility for this effort, but was unable to successfully market their product. Dawson Mills ceased this branch of their operations in 1981.

From 1983 to 2012, the newly built facility was owned by the Associated Milk Producers Inc (AMPI), the largest cheese cooperative in the USA. The current owner of the building is a company called PURIS, Inc, which manufactures a yellow pea protein. Expansion into the facility in Dawson has allowed PURIS to more than double its processing capacity. PURIS’s protein is used in a variety of products including the well known meat substitute, Beyond Meat.

“This story will still be unfolding years from now,” said Pioneer PBS’s Compass producer Amanda Anderson. “This series will capture a moment in time and connect us all the more closely to the people and communities from where our food comes.”

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with us, please email info@futureofproteinproduction.com

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