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of the SSFPA sound bits Newsletter
From Health Canada and Canadian Food Inspection Agency
The first national survey of
Canadians' eating habits since the early 1970's included 35,000
Canadians of all ages. Its findings
include the following:
Food Guide to Healthy Eating is
being revised with the idea of ensuring that it reflects evolving
scientific knowledge on diet, health, and nutrition-related
chronic diseases. Targeted date for completion of the revision
has been changed to Fall. For more details about the revision
process, refer to: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/nutrition.
The online consultation can be accessed until March 24th, 2006,
through this page
of Health Canadas website.
The Health Products and Food Branch of
Health Canada has developed a draft Policy on Public Input
into the Review of Health Products. The policy promotes the
consideration of public input in Health Canadaâ€s
review of the safety and effectiveness of health products, and
describes when and how to seek input.
Stakeholders are invited to participate
in an e-consultation on the draft policy by completing an online
available from July 11 to September 29, 2006.. Completing the
workbook will take approximately 30 minutes. Results from the
e-consultation will be posted on the Health Canada website.
Does your product line require you to be
up-to-date on a wide range of adverse reactions? If so, you
will probably be interested in the Canadian
Adverse Reaction Newsletter published by Health Canada.
Health Canada's "warnings
and advisories" are available on a variety of items,
not only food or nutritional products.
Health Products Directorate (NHPD) issues a bulletin
with information, regulations, and guidelines. Recent highlights
Revisions to the Compliance
Policy for Natural Health Products
Certificate of Analysis no
Advertising of Natural Health
The NHPD also has advised companies
currently awaiting a product licence NOT to label their natural
health products with the statement "NPN Pending." Those
companies that have already labelled their products in this manner
should not include this statement on future shipments, lots and
batches of their products.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency
(CFIA) issues recalls
that could be of concern to some food processors as well as
Nutritional Labelling Information:
Nutrition Labelling regulations
became mandatory for large companies on December 12, 2005.
The new regulations require labels on most prepackaged foods
to carry a Nutrition Facts table that lists Calories and
13 key nutrients in a specified amount of food. As well,
the regulations allow for the first time five health claims
on diet-health relationships and update the requirements
for the nutrient content claims. Smaller companies have
until December 12, 2007, to make the information available.
Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website
for more details.
- The Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion,
Health Canada, is pleased to launch the Interactive
Nutrition Label (INL). This self-directed, web-based tool
will help consumers better understand the nutrition information
on food products. By exploring the INL, consumers will learn
how to use the information on labels to make more informed food
choices. The main target audience of the INL is the principal
grocery shopper. Nutrition Labelling, combined with education
on its use, is a support to improved public health in Canada.
for the Nutrient Content Claim "No Added Sugars"
can also be found there.
You is a newsletter produced by the
Office of Consumer and Public Involvement (OCAPI) as a means of
encouraging informed involvement of Canadians in decisions about
health priorities, politices and programs of various Health Canada
branches. Contact OCAPI
if you are interested in particular issues and would like to be
on its mailing list.
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Trade Service (ATS) web site is
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's electronic service providing
international trade and market information for Canadian agri-food
exporters. Check it out for market information, export news and
analysis, and much more. Latest ATS headlines
are available, a newsmagazine,
and a compilation of trade
reports on the Asia Pacific region.
Fact Sheet, developed
by the Canadian Farm Business Management Council (CFBMC), is a
tool designed to help beginning and future farmers to familiarize
themselves with farm management principles and map out their business
plan. It features five profiles of farm producers who have successfully
learned the management aspects of agri-business and a list of
resources readers can turn to.
Association of Farmers' Markets notes that farmers' markets
operate in every type of community across British Columbia: cities,
suburbs and rural communities. Find markets in your area, upcoming
events, and information on these markets for both buyers and vendors.
Food Processors Association, among
other goals, seeks "promoting and assisting the establishment
and growth of BC processors by serving as an information bank
and a networking system." Its website serves this function
Protection Association's web site is worth a visit for anyone
involved in food production and, thus, food safety. The BCFPA's
Grapevine, is also available on the site.
Columbia Institute of Technology offers many courses of interest
to small scale food processors, including sessions on Food
Safety and Technology. It also has fisheries
reports for the years 1979-1989 available. These were compiled
by BC Research's Fisheries Technical Division. Contact Denise
DeLeebeeck if you are interested.
(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.
Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) Program is now available
in BC. Interested producers can apply at their local Service Canada/HRSDC
office or call 1-800 O CANADA . The program is available to farmers
and their spouses having family incomes of less than $45,000 and
farm sales of more than $10,000. Beginning farmers are also eligible.
Cooperative Association and Credit Union Central of Canada policy
update focuses on the new Conservative minority government and
its likely effect on the cooperative sector.
Farm Manager (an initiative of Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture,
Food & Rural Affairs) offers an excellent bi-monthly newsmagazine.
The December-January issue focuses on a little known secret: some
farmers actually make money - lots of it! Learn how they do it.
Community Economic Development Network focuses on revitalizing
communities, both urban and rural. A monthly newlsetter, published
by the BC/ Yukon branch of this Network, is an important regional
communications tool. To subscribe or to share information, email
Organic Growers, Inc. COG is Canada's national membership-based
education and networking organization representing farmers, gardeners
and consumers in all provinces. It features a lending
library, quarterly magazine, and monthly internet newsletter.
Organic Associations of BC is the only government-approved body
responsible for overseeing the BC Certified Organic Program and
is designated to implement the program under the Food Choice and
Quality Act. Its website is the "go to" place for everything
A clearing house for information on pasture-based farming, this
sites provides up-to-date, information about the benefits of choosing
meat and and dairy products from pastured animals.
is an internet publication put out by Tamarack, an organization
which focuses on Comprehensive Community Initiatives (CCI's). CSI's
are efforts by citizens to take on the most complex problems facing
their communities and the lives of their fellow residents, issues
like community safety, homelessness, and poverty.
Working Group. Learn
about the recent World Trade Organization sessions on agriculture
and other global, environmental, and food security issues.
Folk/City Folk is a non-profit society
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. The organization provides an e-mail bulletin, packed
with information. You can subscribe at the lower left corner of
the main page. Also check out Farm Folk/City Folk's "Information
Pantry" at the same site. In past issues of sound bits,
we have featured the group's support of the innovative 100
on the Future, commissioned by the Invstment Agriculture Foundation
of BC and the BC Agriculture Council, supports further development
of the agri-food industry in British Columbia. Its goals are to
(1) assess key issues in the agricultural sector and (2) identify
strategies and actions. Outlines of the project's phases
and expected outputs
can be found at the website.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations provides
a great manual/guide
for small scale food processors. It's both comprehensive and free.
Safety Network at the University of Guelph, Ontario provides
research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on
food safety issues, including an expanded search engine capacity
(60,000 articles and news stories!).
Information Service (FIS), with input
from both University of British Columbia and BC Institute of Technology,
is a provincially-funded venture aimed at providing two services:
public inquiries and industrial inquiries. Its mandate it to "provide
factual unbiased information about food, its production, preservation,
wholesomeness and safety to the public and the food industry."
Check its brochure
to find out more about its services, both free and fee-for-service.
Food on the Table: An Action Guide to Local Food Policy,
published by the the
Community Food Security Coalition and California Sustainable Working
Group, includes case studies, advice from experienced food policy
advocates, a resource guide and more. The website itself includes
a wealth of other information and publications, all related to local
food security issues.
Value of Some Common Foods, a detailed guide with valuable nutritional
information, will assist you whether you are a
producer, processor, or consumer. Itsth Canada report chock-full
of valuable information on nutrients; energy values; vitamin, mineral,
and fat content; and a wealth of other information about everyday
foods. It even includes a list common abbreviations and a metric
conversion chart for typical measurements.
Opportunities can be investigated through the 2010 Commerce
Centre. The Centre helps businesses of all sizes and descriptions
from across British Columbia take advantage of the 2010 Games. Its
in particular, showcases specific opportunities and provides a forum
for success stories.
Consumers Association also has an interesting newsletter. Organic
Bytes includes consistently well-organized information and clearly
defined responses to the challenges affecting organic food production.
Seeds of Diversity
Canada is a national charitable organization
dedicated to the conservation, documentation and use of the broad
gene pool of horticultural plants. It notes that "most of the
rare varieties in Canadian seed catalogues are sold by small, single-proprietor
companies. They are the companies that you find at Seedy Saturdays
across Canada every winter. We all need to support these small niche
vendors, since they are propagating and distributing over 80% of
our horticultural biodiversity!"
Business BC offers a wide variety of affordable - any many free
- seminars in Vancouver for small business operators. Also included
are on-line guides and an internet
newsletter. If you are a small food producer/processor, there
is almost sure to be something of interest.
Growth BC launches the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) Watch
Listserve. Agriculture and food processing support the livelihood
of over 200,000 British Columbians and contribute over $2.2 billion
to the economy. All this occurs with less than 5% of the province's
land base. Smart Growth BC has established an ALR Watch listserve
to inform people who are passionate about its protection. To join,
send a blank e-mail to:
Food System Assessment explores "how the [food] system
might be transformed to enhance food security for all residents
through community-led economic development and promotion of policies
that build food system sustainability." Recommendations include"market[ing]
Chinatown food resources to surrounding neighbourhoods," "promot[ing]
sustainable food procurement for the 2010 Olympics," and "expand[ing]
the role of urban agriculture."
Enterprise Centre offers skills development; business lending
programs; and access to mentors, peer networks, resources,
events and more to female entrepreneurs. Call toll-free at 1-800-643-7014.
Food Processing Guide for Ontario, though focusing on that province,
has information of value to any Canadian processor. It includes
information on researching, manufacturing and marketing commercial-scale
food products; along with guidelines for food safety, quality assurance
and government regulations. Numerous contacts and on-line links
throughout the Guide direct the reader to additional resources.
* For even more information on the ever-expanding
world of small-scale food production and processing, visit our Links
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Local Food Goes Forth and Multiplies (The End of Wal-Mart?)
from our main page But in this epoch, Shuman
says, all the indices foretell nothing less than the end of Wal-Mart,
a prognosis more likely to come true than all the others.
At the invitation of Green Enterprise Toronto, the local branch
of Business Alliance For a Local Living Economy (BALLE), the Washington-based
economist and consultant toured Toronto and Hamilton in late June,
just prior to the release of his latest book, The Small-Mart Revolution:
How Local Businesses Are Beating the Local Competition.
Wal-Mart is an easy target for punsters, and is fast becoming a
figure of speech for the taking ways of everyday low ethics among
multinationals that stick it to main street business folks, the
same way primeval capitalists in dark satanic mills exploited Karl
Marxs proletariat. As hometown businesses learn they have
nothing to lose but their chainstores and start fighting back, Shuman
says we will witness an epochal struggle between two dramatically
different visions of capitalism, the outcome of which will define
many interesting and important years of history to come.
Shuman, consultant to a number of towns on the economic comeback
trail and a founding member of BALLE, calls the conflicting visions
Tina and Lisa. Tina is short for the global corporations who maintain
There Is No Alternative to the impersonal and placeless way they
do business. Lisa stands for Local Ownership and Import Substitution,
business folks who stick with the people and places in their hood.
Lisa offers a local anesthetic to a lot of unnecessary pain and
turmoil in a turbulent world.
In an age when cheap conventional petroleum is burning fast, the
ups and downs almost all ups of fuel prices will level
the playing field for businesses with local connections and less
distance to travel. In an era when water is scarce, water-intensive
ag exports no longer seem wise or cheap. At a time when overcrowding
of animals and people create a wildfire zone for the spread of contagious
disease, it becomes madness to permit disease-ridden imports into
areas where there is no resistance to, or predators of, the forces
of contagion think avian flu, and the tens of billions of
dollars being spent to keep the global market for dollar-a-pound
chicken industry on life support. When power lines can be snipped
by trees or terrorists falling out of the sky, sentencing entire
regions to black-out, centralized and faraway sources of electricity
make no sense.
When planners and politicians take these issues seriously, and start
looking closer to home for basic necessities such as food, water
and energy, the case for what Shuman calls Jurassic Economic
Development falls apart. Dependence holds a community
hostage to mistakes, misdeeds and misfortunes totally outside its
control, he says.
Its more than the scare factor that requires change. When
all economies are taken into account, precautions also make for
sound business decisions. Lisa companies already account for the
great majority of jobs in a modern post-industrial economy. Think
of the butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, cleaning ladies, handymen,
renovators, landscapers, main street retailers, home businesses,
childcare workers, nannies, bookkeepers, volunteers, housekeepers,
mom and pop grocers who do the heavy lifting of day-to-day life
and tax-paying. Think even more of the indirect jobs created by
the multiplier effect of these local companies the post-harvest
handlers used by the local farmer, the cluster of innovative chefs
and processors who develop value-added products from local offerings,
the clothing store thats kept open serving new customers with
cash in their hands. The multiplier effect is the secret weapon
of small and local business, since it creates about three times
the employment and indirectly, additional sharers of the
tax burden for improved health, social and educational services
of distant firms that take local dollars and export the multiplier
effect elsewhere. Against that background, the penny wise,
pound foolish tactic of saving a few pennies or dollars by
buying from, or putting public subsidies into, distant corporation
becomes local self-abuse.
Making the decision to give a few breaks to local businesses will
be hard for government planners, policy analysts and program managers
who routinely dole out favors and roll out programs for the line-up
of Tina businesses, who favor this one form of government intervention.
U.S. porkbarrel amounts to about $110 billion a year in government
giveaways that lure distant corporations to please stay around,
Shuman calculates. By my guesstimate, a proportionate amount of
subsidies go out the door in Canada, albeit usually disguised as
invisible hand-ups rather than visible hand-outs.
Its a little-known fact that Canadian governments subsidize
distant corporations, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars
a year, at the garbage dump thanks to rules that give no
reward to local dairies and juicers who sell product in thick recyclable
bottles and thereby avoid garbage costs but impose no penalty on
dairies and juicers that sell in one-way tetrapak and plastic containers
that are recycled by taxpayers at great expense; or rules that charge
the same fee for fresh bread from a local bakery sold in a recyclable
paper bag and never-say-die bread kept from losing its rubbery bounce
by a landfill-destined plastic bag; or rules that give no reward
to manufacturers who design parts so theyre easily repaired
and recycled to create local jobs, and no penalty on manufacturers
who design things that cant be fixed or recycled and have
to be tossed in the garbage at public expense.
U.S. and Canadian federal and regional governments both put an invisibility
cloak around subsidies that prop up giant and nomadic corporations
by forcing taxpayers to foot the bill for highways that carry all
those long-distant goods. The U.S. feds spend 30 times more on highways
than on infrastructure grants to cities, Shuman shows. The ratio
in Canada where even one cent of the tax on a liter of gas
cant be given to support public transit, let alone the local
producers put out of business by artificially cheap imports, is
just too much is on par. An equally invisibilized subsidy
to the Nomads comes in the form of weak federal and regional laws
protecting worker rights and minimum wages, the purchasing power
of which has been allowed to slip in both countries by as much as
40 per cent since the 1960s. Looking at their own modest incomes,
small local businesses might mistakenly resist minimum wage protection
for their staff, because they dont see that decent wages are
key to their competitive advantage against the big guys. The
living wage is to Wal-Mart what kryptonite was to Superman,
Shuman argues, since the Nomads cant function without reserves
of cheap, deskilled and casual labor.
Its Shumans hope and this is what makes his book
a political manifesto that the conflict between two ways
of doing business will lead to the tilling of common ground between
independent businesses, now largely represented by ultra-conservative
corporate lobbies, and the common folk, together with progressives,
tree-huggers and cultural creatives who never felt entirely at home
in the conventional left. Nursing along dialogue in this new political
space -- which honors community, not just equity, and which values
entrepreneurship and informal community barnraisings, not just expensive
government programs is as important to Shumans project,
and as revealing of his personal history, as the battle between
different modes of business.
Color me neither red nor blue, but purple, he says.
During the return trip to Hamilton, Shuman told me about his political
odyssey, which started in 1976, when he dropped out of Stanford
University to work with Friends of the Earth and campaign against
nuclear power in California. The year long campaign produced a major
victory for anti-nukes that changed Shumans life. We
felt this incredible jolt of power and effectiveness and sense
that sound principles plus good data could move public policy,
he recalls, something older radicals worn down by an embittering
decade-long struggle against the Vietnam war, never knew. Hes
been a positive energy guy ever since, even when he led the Washington-based
Institute for Policy Studies, what he calls the Jolly Roger
of thinktanks during the 1990s. The Washington experience
confirmed his anti-nuke prejudices that big government was bad;
as he saw social and economic power drift away from governments
to business, he was ready for a shift to local business. He wrote
Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age,
almost immediately after leaving the Institute in 1997.
The rest is local history.
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and information session for small scale processors and producers
in Kelowna, BC on Monday, September 18, 2006, at 6 pm. Co-sponsors
are the SSFPA and the Okanagan Agrifutures Program. The event will
l be held at the UBC Okanagan campus in the theatre at the Student
Centre Building. (Park in Lot E.) Pizza is included. For more information,
call the SSFPA toll-free number at 1-866-547-7372, or email Candice
Borders Toward Food Security, the 4th Annual Conference of Food
Secure Canada, October 7-11, 2006 in Vancouver at the Sheraton
Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street). Conference themes include: Food
Secure Communities, Food and Institutions, Food and Cities, and
Global Food Issues.
Folk/City Folk's Annual Feast of Fields will be held on the
following dates and at the following places:
- Whistler Feast of Fields: North Arm
Farm in Pemberton, Saturday, August 19.
- Lower Mainland Feast of Fields: Vista
D'oro Farms in Langley, Sunday, September 10.
- Vancouver Island Feast of Fields:
Glendale Gardens & Woodland, Sunday, September 17.
Come and taste the best of BC chefs, vintners,
brewers, food artisans, and producers. More details are available
at Farm Folk/City Folks website.
Markets in BC, Summer & Fall. BC Association of Farmers'
Markets provides places and dates. Look for a market in your area.
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