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



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Best of the Holiday Season
To All of our Readers!


Local Flavours Products and Services Co-operative Update

Last month we announced the launch of our new products and services cooperative, “Local Flavours”. This issue we provide a recap of that information in a new Sound Bites publication, which includes lots of pictures. As well, we have a message from Local Flavours’ Business Developer, Frank Moreland:

"The next step in development of the business plan for Local Flavours Products and Services Co-operative is to interview all of the SSFPA members to see which products and services you are interested in using and what products that you will be able to supply to the Co-op (over and above any successful placements you now have for your products). I will be making calls in December to let you know what is happening with the SSFPA and Local Flavours Products and Services Co-operative. I will be gathering information from SSFPA processor members who can spare an hour or so for an interview in December, but it is not critical if you do not have the time. I can call back in January. After this inventory is complete, I will be plugging in numbers to the updated business plan for the Local Flavours Products and Services Co-op. And, we expect in the early New Year that negotiations for insurance and other Local Flavours’ brokered services will be ready to be advertised.

Our members have made it clear that they wish to have Local Flavours be known as truly representing 'local' and 'safe' and 'high quality'. We are developing a Product Qualification Process (PQP) and a PQP Panel of distinguished food representatives to ensure that we can guarantee all of the products represented by the Local Flavours Products and Services Brokering Service. If you have existing product information from labs and food technologists and your nutritional labeling or other third party certification, etc. in place, the PQP will be a rapid process. For those who have new products, we will be facilitating products to be accepted by arranging for bulk purchase of Lab and Food Technology services at very reasonable rates. We will be letting you know all the details about this in the near future.

For members on Vancouver Island, there will be regional meetings in January and February to be held in several locations in partnership with other organizations that wish to promote value-added small-scale agriculture. Please watch for the announcement on the next sound bits newsletter.

For now, enjoy the loved ones who will be sharing any time and space with you this hectic season."


For further coverage of the Local Flavours' launch, see our November Special Issue of sound bits.



Attention SSFPA Members:

Members who met the deadline for the Western Grocer magazine directory will be receiving the issue you are featured in. It will be in the season’s snail mail and we hope you enjoy it once you receive it. The people who purchased an advertisement have already received their copy directly from Western Grocer. Once you have read the SSFPA introduction and directory, please fill out this evaluation to assist the SSFPA with the planning of member promotions for next year.

Overcoming Finance Barriers

Finance and income issues are recurring themes in this month's issue of sound bits.

There are some valuable lessons for us in BC from this American research. Funding the New Harvest (Oct., 2004) is an in-depth examination of the credit needs and barriers for small and sustainable farms in North Carolina. Based on a survey of 400 organic farmers and extensive interviews, this report found that while lender bias against non-commodity and organic farmers is rare, financing remains a major barrier to the growth of the sustainable farm movement. The report lays out the major sources of farm finance and offers recommendations to improve farmer access to capital.

To deal with this challenge here, the Small Scale Food Processor Association is working with Coast Capital Savings Credit Union to develop a program that will help fill in the financing gaps for our members. Any SSFPA member wishing more information should contact Frank Moreland.

Concerns Over Farm Incomes: Report on the Canadian Federation of Agriculture Symposium, "Partnering for Long-Term Sustainability"

For more than 30 years, farm incomes have been falling. On a per farm basis, farm incomes are unable to sustain rural families, and young people continue to leave primary agriculture at an alarming rate. How can these trends be reversed and how can farmers derive more benefits from the marketplace? This conference, sponsored by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), was a national forum bringing together primary producers, processors, government and other stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to ensure long-term stable and sustainable incomes.

One innovative approach to the challenge of falling incomes could be the set of on-line farm management training seminars, sponsored jointly by CFA and the Canadian Farm Business Management Council. Designed for both dial-up and high speed connections, these four, 45-minute "webinars" will be free to Canadian Farmers and will be held early next year. Check back at the CFA web site for information on topics and dates.

Announcement on the Canadian Agricultural Skills Services (CASS)

This program could make a real difference to some rural families in Canada.

The purpose of the CASS initiative is to help farmers and their spouses increase their family income through improved farm practices OR through increased off-farm income. Assistance will be provided for qualified individuals to receive training in areas such as business management, accounting, finance, human resource management; training for other employment; or training to acquire skills for starting a new business. Financial support such as tuition fees for courses, textbooks and travel while attending training away from home will be provided for eligible clients with an approved Individual Learning Plan. Farm families with a net income of $45,000 or less are eligible to apply. Visit the CASS web site to learn about funding levels. The start-up date hasn't yet been announced, so check the web site again for further updates.

Are You a Women Who Needs a Business Loan?

While we are on the subjects of finance and business development, the following announcement from the Women's Enterprise Society of BC (WESBC) could be of great interest to you.

WESBC has a unique business loans program for women in BC who want to start or expand a business. WESBC is a "Business Plan Lender," which means they grant loans on the strength of your business plan or idea, not just your credit rating. The WESBC team will guide you through the process of getting a loan. After you are up and running, their qualified business analysts are available to help you, when you need it, with any business challenge you have. For more information, please visit the WESBC web site.

Women owner/operators are a growing (pardon the pun!) trend in the agri-food sector, and this sort of program can be very valuable.

Value-Added Agriculture: A Senate Report

The Senate's Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry met during 2003-2004 to discuss the importance of adding value to Canada's agricultural products. The Committee's report encourages assistance to the organic sector and to farmer-owned processing enterprises, including co-operatives.

Fresh, Local Food Movement Continues To Flourish on Vancouver Island: SSFPA's Presentations in Campbell River, North Saanich, and Duncan.

Sandra Mark, the Vancouver Island Pilot Project Manager, and Frank Moreland, the Vancouver Island Pilot Business Developer, have been very busy during the last month! Among other things, they made presentations to the Pier Street Farmers Market in Campbell River on November 17, to the South Vancouver Island Direct Farm Market Association at its AGM on November 21, and to District "A" of the Farmers Institute in Duncan on December 9.

Frank and Sandra focused on the province's need for more local food production and small-scale processing. Their analyses include information on the new Local Flavours products and services cooperative which, as we noted above, had its official launch last month.

Summer Program on Emilia Romagna Co-operatives in Vancouver, BC and Bologna, Italy

We may be on the verge of the Christmas holidays, but it's not too early to look into this exciting summer program, put on by the BC Cooperative Association (BCCA), in both Vancouver and Bologna. [Note: university credit can be obtained.]

The new Local Flavours Products and Services Cooperative, set up by the Small Scale Food Processor Association last month, is a made-in-BC solution and did not use the Emilia Romagna model per se; however, we at SSFPA were inspired by its ingenuity, community commitment, and effectiveness.

What is the Emilia Romagna model? This northern area of Italy (with its urban focus in Bologna) has been widely recognized as one of the world's leading examples of a successful cooperative economy. With more than 15,000 cooperatives in the region, the use of the this system in both the commercial and civil sectors has made it a living laboratory for understanding how the cooperative model can work in a modern, market economy. For further information, contact John Restakis at BCCA.

Trans Fat Facts

Health Canada has produced a clear and succinct news release on a nutritional issue that's of much concern to health-conscious Canadians in general - and some small-scale processors in particular. It says: "Fats in foods are made up of 4 different types of fatty acids - polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and trans. Trans fats are found naturally in some animal-based foods, but are also formed when liquid oils are made into semi-solid fats like shortening and hard margarine."

Consuming either saturated or trans fat raises the blood levels of the so-called 'bad' LDL cholesterol (serum LDL-cholesterol). while reducing the blood levels of the so-called 'good' HDL cholesterol which protects against heart disease. Thus it can deliver a double whammy to the human heart. Learn more about the strategies being developed by the government of Canada, in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, to reduce the level of trans fats in our food supply.

Your can also check out our More News section for additional information, advisories, and notices from Health Canada.

Annual Conference and Trade Show: Seeds for the Future

Participation in the annual conference of the Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) increases significantly each year, as the organic food sector itself grows. The conference - to be held in Sidney on February 25-27, 2005 - is part of COABC's long-term strategy to replace imported organic products with BC's own production. It will not only provide some of the practical, concrete production and marketing information producers and processors need; it will also lead to an increase in the energy and enthusiasm throughout the sector. COABC is looking for sponsors for the conference and emphasizes that, by doing this, sponsors will "help grow the BC organic sector." To find out more about supporting the conference - and gaining resulting recognition for your business - e-mail the conference coordinator, Lee Fuge, or call her at 250-385-7974.

[Note: SSFPA will have a presence at this conference, informing participants about the new Local Flavours Products and Services Cooperative. See the Coming Events section.]

Local Import Substitution Strategies - The Time to Plan is Now!

Many Locally-owned Import Substitution Strategies work extremely efficiently with food and beverages, yet not for commodities and the majority of industrialized production sectors. As the externalized costs of shipping fuels make global food miles uneconomical in the next five to ten years, the efficiency of developed localized food systems can support food security for all, rich and poor. Do we want to start planning and developing now? Read about AMAZING SHRINKING MACHINES: The Movement Toward Diminishing Economies of Scale, by Michael H. Shuman.


More sound bits News

  • Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks: Short items from and about the small-scale food sector
  • Coming Events
  • SSFPA Reports, Publications, and Documents
  • Information from BC's Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries (MAFF)
  • Links to Related Sites

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