Small Scale Food Processor Association
Site 43, C-53
Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0
(250) 335-3001


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sound bits

Internet Newsletter
Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA)
Site 43, C-53, Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0
(250) 335-3001
April 2004



De-centralized Democracy Works: The First Ever (That We Know About) Virtual Annual General Meeting

In February, SSFPA held its second annual AGM in a very 21st century way - via the internet. Read about this milestone in grassroots organization in our latest Sound Bites publication. This particular issue includes a good overview of the SSFPA, its values, and its history. It's a great source for anyone interested in learning about our organization.

More SSFPA News

  • Western Grocer promotion. Our deadline to provide Western Grocer with our members' contact and product information is mid July, and we are now looking at being in the pre-Christmas issue. More information will be available on this as we begin our membership drive, plus see the item below entitled, "Don't Pass Up This Marketing Opportunity." To read the kind of article that appears in Western Grocer, click here.
  • Membership Drive. A representative from SSFPA will be contacting members to present this year's members benefit package and the process for paying annual membership fees. If you are not a member of SSFPA, make sure you read the next issue of sound bits for a description of the benefits package and the membership forms for you to join. For more information, contact

  • Shared Services Co-operative Business Plan. The SSFPA Board of Directors is completing the approval process for a co-operative that will benefit small-scale food entrepreneurs. If you would like a copy of the Executive Summary once it is approved, send an e-mail with the words "exec summary" in the subject line to
  • Shared Services Co-operative Pilot Project on the Vancouver Islands. The SSFPA Co-operative Development Initiative (CDI) pilot project is working in partnership with the Electronic Commerce Council of Canada (ECCC) to develop a bar code sharing system. This could be directly tied to regionally branding value-added food products. Elements of the pilot project on the Vancouver Islands can also be delivered to all SSFPA members depending on the strength and willingness of existing regional organizations positioned to partner with these strategies the SSFPA is developing. For more information contact
  • Food Safety Committee Model. For a model of the type of Food Safety Committee currently being looked at by SSFPA, check out the article in Au Courant newsletter (from the Food and Consumer Product Manufacturers of Canada) entitled, "Ontario Government Introduces HACCP Advantage Program." [Note: there's more relevant news from that issue which you'll find in the "bar code" item below.]



For Sale:

By SSFPA Member Jana Wessel (of Earth's Herbal Organic Tea & Herb Company). A Ranchilio S20 espresso machine. 2 steamers and 2 double espresso stations. Just serviced. $2,000 OBO. Call 884-5459

On Line Farms (specializing in organic produce). Located in BC's Comox Valley, the present owners would like it to continue as an organic operation. This is a turn key operation and includes everything from tractor to twist ties, greenhouses to goodwill, compost to computer. Check out the details here.

Summer Job Opportunity.

There is a position on a self-sufficient farm (grain and livestock) near Enderby, BC for someone interested in organic farming and caring for animals. This could develop into a full-time, year round position for the right person. Housing is available. E-mail Willem Roell or call (250) 838-6684.


Investment Ag Foundation: "We're Here to Help You....."

...get innovative ideas off the ground for the benefit of business and the industry as a whole." The Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) of BC is a non-profit organization that invests federal and provincial funds to help the agri-food sector adjust to change. Ag has also formed the BC Food and Beverage Processor's Council, of which SSFPA is a member. It also sponsors the Food and Beverage Processing Industry Initiative, a $1.5 million fund for implementing industry goals and strategies. The types of activities which may be funded through the Initiative include research and development, training and education, technology development and transfer, market development, communications, and environmental enhancement. Cost sharing between the governments and industry - on a 50/50 basis - is a key principle of the Futures Fund. Find out more about the Initiative here.

News for Albertans

A good summary of what's going on in your province can be found at the monthly newsletter of the Alberta Food Processors Association. We also want to call your attention to AFPA's golf classic, being held at the Northern Bear Golf Club (one of only four Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses in Canada) on Thursday, June 3. For more information, click here.

Victoria Fair Trade Fair: Invitation & Exhibitors Wanted - Sunday, April 18, 2004

To kick off Earth Week, CEDCO Victoria and the Earth Week and Walk Committee are hosting a Local Fair Trade Fair in Victoria, BC on Sunday April 18, 2004 at Centennial Square 11 am to 4 pm. Environmentally and socially conscious entrepreneurs, cooperatives, non-profits and organizations will showcase their locally produced, fair trade products or services at this exciting one-day event. Presentations will be made at the Speakers Corner. There will also be live music, and baskets of local and fair trade products and services will be raffled.

There is no cost to attend, just show up and enjoy. If you are interested in exhibiting your products or services, contact CEDCO Victoria (250) 360-0852 or email:

Did You Know.....

In BC, only 20% of our food is produced at home. Eighty percent of our food is imported. We believe that if this ratio is reversed, we will reclaim our food systems, create many jobs throughout the "value chain," and revitalize communities. Who are we?

  • Farmers who wish to increase farm income, save our farms and communities.
  • Urban dwellers who love food and wish to create jobs for ourselves.
  • Most of us are women!

Learn more about this "out of the box" analysis from this presentation given by SSFPA representatives Frank Moreland and Sandra Mark at the conference, "Building Sustainable Food Systems in Southeastern BC," held in March, 2004. This forum was hosted by Growing Green, a collaborative project of West Coast Environmental Law, Farm Folk/City Folk, and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. The Growing Green project has just wrapped up and has many reports available on its web site that are of interest to small-scale agri-entrepreneurs.

It Doesn't Have to Be This Way! (A Comparison)

Can you imagine why Quebec adds value to 85% of their produce, and BC adds value to 15%? One explanation is that Quebec has the advantage of a strong "social economy." The SSFPA recently joined the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCED-NET). The business plan of the SSFPA contains language and strategies to describe the "social enterprise" the SSFPA is creating as a "shared services co-operative" pilot project on Vancouver Island in 2004-05.

To understand more about the "social economy" and "social enterprise," read this press release from CCED-NET. You might also want to check out this excerpt from the government of Canada's last budget speech and hold it accountable for the improvements needed!

Bar Code News for Retail Importers: Will You Be Ready for 2005?

Quoting the latest issue of Au Courant, the newsletter of the Food and Consumer Product Manufacturers of Canada: "Currently products coming into the U.S and Canada that are identified with data structures other than the 12-digits U.P.C. cannot be stored in North American company databases. However, in the year 2005 a change is coming that will open up a whole new era of global supply chain efficiency. In 2005 the 13-digit trade items making their way around the world will be recognizable by almost 1,000,000 companies in over 100 countries.... Canada and the United States are the only countries still continuing with the 12-digit U.P.C. symbol. Retailers who import foreign goods and cannot handle a 13-digit bar code must re-tag them – a costly labour-intensive process fraught with the possibilities for error." For more information, go to the latest issue of Au Courant at the FCPMC web site.

Charge Hand/Lead Hand Course at BCIT - April 26-27

The last we heard there was still some room in this course being held on the Burnaby campus, but contact BC Institute of Technology by April 13 if you are interested in attending. Developed by the National Seafood Sector Council, it is appropriate for the entire food industry and is designed for people who are in charge or lead hand positions - or who wish to train for such a job. The focus is on employee supervisory skills, product planning, cost control, safety and maintenance. Students will learn about the charge hand's responsibilities in implementing HACCP/QMP Plans, including plant sanitation. Cost is $425. More details and registration forms are available at the BCIT web site. Or you can e-mail Denise DeLeebeeck or call her at (604) 432-8948.

A "sound bits" Evaluation

We're still contemplating the future of sound bits, the on-line publication you are reading right now. In order for us to plan its future, we encourage our readers to complete an on-line evaluation form and submit it to us. The evaluation is simple and quick, and will help us to determine whether sound bits can become self-supporting, through subscription sales and/or advertising. Click here for the form.

Calling Lillooet Farmers

A meeting is being called to form a regional agricultural association. The agenda includes: Formation of an association - including scope and scale of the association; selection of an executive; discussion of the Grape Demonstration Project; speaker on a topic of interest to local growers. Contact Bernard Schulmann ASAP if you are interested in learning more.

Anti-GM Foods Movement Picks up Steam in UK

Although noted for his commitment to the US-led war in Iraq, Tony Blair's support for corporate food policies is less known in this side of the world. His apparent willingness to allow the planting of genetically modified crops is attracting increasing opposition in a nation where only 14% of the public supports this kind of food. Read about the British reaction from the "Green Gloves" movement. [Note: the Green Gloves web site informs us that, "Only 4 countries worldwide grow 99% of all GM crops: the US, Canada, Argentina and China."]

Do You Have a Question about Nutritional Labelling? We Probably Have the Answer!

Must all pre-packaged foods carry a Nutrition Facts label? What laboratories should be used for product analysis? Can food manufacturers use databases to generate their Nutrition Facts information?

Lance Hill, our contact at Health Canada, has provided SSFPA with a document containing answers to these and many more questions on the new Nutritional Labelling regulations. There is far too much information to include it in "sound bits," but we've placed the document here and strongly encourage you to read the material and bookmark the page. Meanwhile, you can find the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's publication of the labelling rules (both current and transitional) on this page of the CFIA's web sites.

Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks

Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating is undergoing a review. The targeted date for completion of the update is March 2006. Go to the link to find out what changes are proposed so far.

Beyond Organic. Organic food is good for us, but an orange that's good for us costs as much to transport as one stoked with pesticides. Shopping locally and buying in-season produce are essential to the "beyond organic" philosophy. Read the article at the link.

CEDTAP (Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program). These are the great people who helped SSFPA get started and are still investing in our cause. Windmills on the Toronto waterfront, fish processing in Saskatchewan, immigrant women sewing conference bags in Edmonton - learn more about the innovative projects CEDTAP supports all across Canada by visiting its web site.

UBC Agricultural Sciences Program wants a new name - and your assistance in choosing it. Take part in a quick, on-line survey, help the faculty re-name itself, and perhaps win gift certificates from Amazon or Chapters virtual bookstores.

Small Farm Canada. Learn about (perhaps write about?) Canada's "other farms" in this publication, coming out in May. The editors point out that: "More than 1/2 of Canada's 246,000 agricultural operations are small farms. Yet you wouldn't know it by reading the mainstream farm press. All they talk about are tariffs, subsidies and the latest performance statistics of big tractors." Contact Wendy Henderson, Advertising Manager, for more information about the first issue of this national magazine, coming out in May.

Research into the Economics of Local Food Systems. Check out the following list of research tips here. Thanks to Bonita Hutcheson for compiling this information and to the Toronto Food Council for passing it on to us. Also see the fact sheet of the International Society for Ecology and Culture in our "links" section below.

Other Upcoming Events

The Ag Aware Calendar No reason for us to re-invent the wheel, when AgAware produces such a good calendar. Here you'll find an excellent listing of upcoming activities.

Join Our Newsletter Network

If you'd like a monthly e-mail update of sound bits, contact us and we'll put your name on our list serve. It's a quick and easy way to find out what's happening in the "small scale" food world.

Don't Pass up This Marketing Opportunity!

Do you want your name and products in a directory delivered to every grocery store in Western Canada?

The SSFPA has the opportunity to include a profile of the SSFPA in the Western Grocer magazine and to also include all processor members' contact and product information.

If you are an SSFPA member, you can take advantage of this opportunity by first reviewing and correcting your information on the Living Inventory, our interactive database. You gain access to the Living Inventory on our web site at Remember, you control the information there; so make sure addresses, contact names and numbers, and product information are all accurate to take advantage of this marketing tool.

If you forget your password, the Living Inventory will e-mail it to you at the e-mail address you had when you first activated your account. To do this, go to

If you are not a member of SSFPA, you can join online at


SSFPA Reports, Sound Bites Newsletters, and the Living Inventory

SSFPA has carefully presented and archived all its reports and its "Sound Bites" newsletters. These documents cover pretty much everything that has been discovered, discussed, and accomplished in the last two years of organizing and establishing this organization. Explore our goals, our past, and our present by going to our Documents page. [Note: directing others to this web site is a good way to familiarize them with the general issues facing small scale agriculture and food processors.]

SSFPA members can also gain access to the Living Inventory via our web site. The Living Inventory is an interactive data base which serves as an electronic marketplace, enabling small processors and producers to buy and sell products, inputs, and services from one another. To learn more about SSFPA, contact Mary or Frank as noted below:

Small Scale Food Processor Association
"We're Big on Small"
(250) 335-3001 or (250) 973-6952
Web site:

Related Links and List Serves

For information on sustainable food economies, community economic development, and other issues of concern to the small-scale food sector, we recommend these:

Agribusiness Accountability Initiative: This organization promotes collaborative responses to corporate power in the global food system. Its website offers a comprehensive overview of problems and solutions related to his issue.

Alberta Food Processors Association: AFPA and SSFPA have exchanged supporter memberships to be able to work with transparency to eventually help large and small processors in both provinces. AFPA has a great web site with both industry and consumer information galore. Check out its monthly newsletter here.

BC Co-operative Association: Co-ops have been vital to Canada's food sector for at least a hundred years. One of six autonomous regions affiliated with the Canadian Co-operative Association, the BCCA focuses on the promotion of co-operative enterprise and the provision of support services to members and the broader co-op sector in BC.

Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program. CEDTAP is one of the most innovative and helpful economic development programs in Canada. The "Resources and Links" section of its web site is, in itself, a prime source of information for anyone involved in grassroots programs.

Centre for Alternative Technology: The Centre is the UK's leading provider of environmental, sustainability and alternative technology and lifestyle publications. You can learn about ecological sewage treatment, building, architecture, alternative energy, organic gardening, composting, biofuels, green education, sustainable careers and energy conservation.

Farm Folk/City Folk: FarmFolk/CityFolk is a non-profit society, based in British Columbia, that wants one simple thing: for people to eat local, fresh, seasonal foods, grown using farming practices that contribute to the health of the planet.

Growing Green. A two-year, collaborative project of West Coast Environmental Law, Farm Folk/City Folk, and the Liu Institute for Global Issues, Growing Green has recently wrapped up its operations. Its web site has reports of interest to small-scale agri-entrepreneurs.

International Association for Food Protection: Founded in 1911, this is a non-profit association of food safety professionals. Comprised of a diverse membership of over 3,000 Members from 50 nations, the IAFP is dedicated to the education and service of its members as well as industry personnel.

The International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC). A non-profit organization concerned with the protection of both biological and cultural diversity, ISEC's emphasis is "on education for action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental influences that shape our lives." Students and researchers should check out its fact sheet at:

Organic Consumers Association: Look for articles on genetically modified food and fair trade issues along with general information about organic food production. If you'd like regular updates from OCA through its "Biodemocracy News," contact

Rangeland: An awesome collection of information on agriculture and food-sector business in Australia - with plenty of international information and links as well.

Toronto Food Policy Council: This organization operates as a sub-committee of the Toronto Board of Health and focuses on "a food system that fosters equitable food access, nutrition, community development, and environmental health." Regular updates are available by e-mailing

Small Scale Food Processor Association wishes to thank the following for their support!


The Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC assisted SSFPA by partially funding the "Field to Table" workshops in 2002-03.

CEDTAP generously supported the initial development of our shared services business plan with VanCity Credit Union. VanCity Credit Union also has provided key core assistance, helping us to leverage other funds, to improve our data management systems and our web site, and to assist our board of directors' strategic planning activities.