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 seasons 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Women owner/operators are a
growing (pardon the pun!) trend in the agri-food sector, and
this sort of program can be very valuable.
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
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.]
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.
Information from Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks: Short items from and about the small-scale food sector
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.
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