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


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  sound bits Electronic Newsletter        

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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
February - March 2004

De-centralized Democracy Works: The SSFPA "Electronic AGM" is Completed Successfully !

To meet the needs of our urban and rural membership - and as part of our commitment to innovation - SSFPA held an " E lectronic Annual General Meeting" from February 7 to February 14, 2004. From their offices, dens, and living rooms, our members established a quorum, voted on a series of motions, and selected two board members. We looked for an existing model and could not find one , so we suspect we are among the first. We may well have created some important history for grassroots organizations and have designed software we can sell to other non-profit organizations .

Thanks to our board members who assisted in the development and delivery of this concept - particularly to those who helped "get out the vote." Special thanks also goes to our treasurer, Neil deMaere, who set up the overall voting and tallying structure on our web site and created the voting form.

An upcoming Sound Bites AGM newsletter will have the details.

More SSFPA News

The SSFPA board will soon approve release of:

  • A two-page executive summary for the marketing and distribution plan now under development;
  • The insert that the Association is placing on behalf of its members in Western Grocer magazine;
  • News on our upcoming membership drive.

Look for more information in "sound bits," along with a new issue of our more-detailed publication Sound Bites soon to be released.

Sixth Annual Home-Based Business Show, Victoria, BC, February 28

One of SSFPA's members, Omega Biotech Corporaton, wants to remind everyone of this great networking opportunity for small scalers. Last year, the show attracted more than 600 visitors! Theh show takes place from 10 am to 4 pm at Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, 3220 Cedar Hill Road, Victoria, BC. Omega will be showcasing its Wholesale Buyers Club at the show. (See the notice below.)

Are you interested in purchasing premium health and beauty products at incredible prices? Are you interested in creating a home-based business that offers untold flexibility, creativity, and profits within the nation's greatest trend - health and wellness?

If so, the OMI Wholesale Buyers Club was created for you.

The OMI Wholesale Buyers Club is a division of Omega Biotech Corporation of Victoria, BC, a member of the Small Scale Food Processor Association. Omega has been making premium antioxidants products for over 12 years.

The Buying Club was created as a way for people to enjoy premium health and beauty products at incredible prices, and it also offers a unique opportunity for anyone to start a profitable, flexible home-based business grounded in the largest movement to hit North American - natural health and wellness.

Click here to discover more.

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. If you are an Alberta producer of Natural Health Products - or are interested in them - check out the next item.

Natural Health Products Regulations - 4-Day Information Sessions

More Canadians are using these products than ever before, and the federal government brought in new regulations on th.m on January 1. The requirements will be explained in detail at these two sessions: March 9-12, Four Seasons Hotel, Vancouver, BC. March 16-19, Radisson Airport Hotel, Calgary, Alberta. These sessions are limited to 275 places and are expected to fill up quickly. Go to the Natural Health Product Directorate web site for more information and to register.

If you want to review the Directorate's concerns about NHP's, click here.

Spring is on the Horizon: Seedy Weekends are Coming & Nanaimo is First!

The first "seedy" gathering that we have information on is Seedy Sunday: Nanaimo - March 7, 10 am - 4pm; Bowen Park Auditorium, 500 Bowen Road, Nanaimo. Trade or purchase organic and non-hybrid seeds, native plants, bee houses, rain barrels and other tools for self-reliance. There will also be an activity centre for kids. Workshops include: "Nanaimo Region Agriculture: the Healthy Choice"; "Guild and Companion Planting"; "Build a Pocket Insectary: Banish the Pests"; and "How to Wisely Water your Watermelons and Other Tales of Micro-Irrigation in the Veggie Garden." All workshops feature local experts. For more information, contact: Michael Carpenter, (250) 741-1928, or check out the "seedy" web site. Admission is by donation.

"Locally Grown" and "Family Farm": Two Powerful Marketing Tools

The term "locally grown," when combined with the context of family farms, appears to be a powerful marketing message, according to a study put out by Iowa's Leopold Center. If price and appearance were equal, consumers said they would choose products that were grown by local family farms over organic options. Read more here. . See also the article on "Beyond Organic" in the Quick Clicks section below.

"Get Mad at Corporations, Not Cows and Ranchers"

This is the message from Chris Frasier, an American who raises cattle with his family. "People have a right to be upset about a threat to their food supply, but they're angry at the wrong people.... At one time grain companies used animal byproducts to beef up their profits. This fact has been lost in all the hype over 'mad cow' disease; it was international corporations, not farmers, that rendered cattle into protein pellets." Chris also notes: "... the corporations that peddled this feed are hiding behind enormous promotional budgets." He stresses the alternative of local buying: "America's cows aren't mad, at least not yet. But if you're mad, channel your anger constructively when you shop. Choose local foods, and steer away from corporations who would risk your health for the sake of their profits."

Thanks to the Toronto Food Council for sending us the complete article. If you'd like to join the Council's list serve and receive similar thought-provoking information, contact

Research into the Economics of Local Food Systems

If you are researching this subject, here are many examples of useful information available on the internet; for instance, this gem from the International Society for Ecology and Culture: "Buying direct from local farmers generates 44% more revenue for the local economy than purchasing food at supermarkets." Check out the following list of research tips by clicking here. Thanks to Bonita Hutcheson for compiling this information and to the Toronto Food Council for passing the information on to us.

What's Next: A "sound bits" Evaluation

For the past 11 months, SSFPA has had a full-time staff person, funded through participation in a Job Creation Program, in partnership with CEDCO Victoria and the federal government's Human Resources Development Canada. Mary Murphy has been that staff person and, in addition to other responsibilities, she has compiled and edited the sound bits on-line newsletter each month. Mary's employment with SSFPA is now drawing to a close, and we are determining how and whether we can keep publishing sound bits. It would be most helpful if our readers would complete a simple on-line evaluation form and submit it to us. The evaluation is simple and quick, and will help to to determine whether sound bits can - and should - become self-supporting, through subscription sales and/or advertising. Click here for the form.

Our Office Has Moved

SSFPA's membership, board members, and staff are an eclectic mix of rural and urban dwellers. Our co-ordinator, Frank Moreland, and his partner, Sandra Mark (who works for SSFPA in various technical assistance capacities), have moved from BC's capital in Victoria to a rural haven up-Island in Fanny Bay, BC. This means our office has also moved. Our snail mail address is RR #1, Site 43, Comp 53, Fanny Bay, BC V0R 1W0. Phone is (250) 335-3001; cell phone is (250) 361-6639. Our e-mail addresses remain the same: for Frank Moreland; for our membership development coordinator - and "sound bits" editor - Mary Murphy.

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.

Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks

Chilliwack Agricultural Commission - 5th Annual Agricultural Conference: "A look at value-added agriculuture, technologies, and farm gate marketing for the future". Register by March 1. Call 792-7839 for more information.

New Product Business Development Course: New Product Business Development, Apr. 2-3, 2004 at the Burnaby campus of British Columbia Institute of Technology. Instructor: Jim Smyth of BCIT's Venture Development Centre, along with Charlie Minns. For more information, contact Denise DeLeebeeck of BCIT's Fish Processing and Technology Program; or call 604-432-8948. Fee: TBA.

Beyond Organic. Organic food is good for us, but a orange that's good for you 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.

The November 2003 issue of the Health Policy Research Bulletin features "Complementary and Alternative Health Care: The Other Mainstream?"

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.

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, adn to also include all processor members' contact and product information.

If you are a SSFPA member in March 2004, you can take advantage of this opportunity by first reviewing and correcting your information on the Living Inventory. 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 new 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 wtih 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.

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.

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

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