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Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA)
1-866-54-SSFPA or 1-866-547-7372
January 2006



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Thanks to the above sponsors for their support of sound bits, Local Flavours Products & Services Co-operative, and the Recipe for Success Program.

Working Together in 2006

A new year brings new challenges and new opportunities, while winter itself brings the chance to rest and regenerate. Under the snow (or the puddles), life prepares for its new cycle of growth.

What is clear from our newsletter this month is SSFPA's commitment to its membership and to the small food sector as a whole.

Working with our members and with other groups with complementary goals is a mandate which we renew - and express - as we wait for Spring.



Market Channel Opportunity: BC Specialty Foods Directory

Our goal at the Small Scale Food Processor Association is to develop sustainability for small to medium size food processors and producers and to assist in providing market opportunities. As part of this commitment, our Association is pleased to announce the creation of a new web-based specialty foods directory for British Columbia.

SSFPA invites all specialty food producers and processors to participate in this new, online, province-wide directory of BC-grown specialty foods and BC-processed specialty foods. Our organization is creating the directory, but participants aren't required to be members. Our goal is to provide small scale producers and processors throughout the province with greater access to alternative sales channels and a simpler, faster and more convenient way for the food service industry to source local foods.

A communications plan will be implemented to alert the potential end users of the directory. There are no costs associated for being listed in the directory; however eligibility criteria do exist as listed in the form. The directory is scheduled to be online by March 31, 2006.

Please send in your Directory application form as soon as you can to allow sufficient time for data base input. The return methods are listed on page 6 of the application form which is available online at

If you have questions regarding this initiative, please contact Candice Appleby. Call her toll free at 1-866-54-SSFPA (77372) or email her at

Growing with our Members and Working with Others: SSFPA is Busy!

  • This weekend, January 27 and 28, Future Corp is hosting the "Business Is Growing" conference, open to all who are interested in starting or growing a farm business. The key note speaker for the Saturday morning session is SSFPA Board of Director member Kim Stansfield presenting "The Business of Farming." SSFPA Board Member Pat Reichert is participating on the panel discussion session titled "Big Ideas for Small Farms - Innovative Farm Revenue Diversification."
  • SSFPA is also participating in the Pacific Agriculture Conference. Candice Appleby will be presenting on behalf of the the Association, along with BC Association of Farmers Markets Executive Coordinator Bertie Wells. Included in the presentation will be the BC Specialty Food Directory Initiative.
  • SSFPA will make a presentation at the Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) conference February 24-26, 2006. Board Members Pat Reichert, Kika Joy, Terry Ackerman, and Kim Stansfield will be guest presenters.
  • We applaud the British Columbia AgriTourism Alliance on their Marketing Caravan and thank their representatives for passing along information about the SSFPA as they travel the province in the coming weeks.

Members Corner:

Welcome to Merv Sloss

SSFPA welcomes a new Board Member (and Supporter Member) Merv Sloss. Merv, his wife Rhonda and daughters Morgan and Erika have operated Willowbrook Farms, a six-acre certified organic farm in Creston, BC, for the past 10 years. They have personally marketed local produce throughout the Kootenies, Southern Alberta, and Northern Idaho. They have a long standing interest in local food security and food processing. Merv is an active board member with the Creston Valley Sustainable Agriculture Committee and is a past director with Kootenay Organic Growers Society. Merv has a bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of Calgary and a CRA designation with the Appraisal Institute of Canada. He is currently a licensed and active realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties.

Hey, We Aren't THAT Small After All!

When Food in Canada ("The Voice of the Canadian Food Industry") published its 2005 Top 100 list of food companies (based on sales for 2004), guess what? THREE members of the SSFPA made the list. They are:

  • Anita's Organic Grain & Flour Mill Ltd.(#94);
  • Food First Enterprises Ltd. (#96); and
  • Misty Mountain Wild Mushroom Products (#100).

Good on ya! We know your inclusion in this list represents an enormous amount of work WHILE maintaining your commitment to producing and delivering quality products.

Sharing a Commercial Kitchen?

If any SSFPA member has a commercial kitchen to share or rent, you might want to contact Alex Beurts who is putting together a business plan for a new food service company. He is looking for a kitchen to produce small batches of product for market testing.

Do You Have Questions About Thermal Processing?

E-Fish-Ent Fish Company Ltd. is a family run business established in 1990, set up to produce premium quality, ready-to-eat seafood products. What is more, proprietors (and SSFPA members) Bryan and Linda Mooney will be happy to answer your questions on thermal processing, one of the most important - and complex - methods of preserving food. Contact them via their website.

Other News and Views

On A Roll With Agriculture - The BCATA Marketing Caravan 2006

For smaller family farms to survive, they must diversify and market their own products. To help address the needs of today's farm producer, the British Columbia AgriTourism Alliance (BCATA) and Canadian Farm Business Management Council have joined forces to create an informative road show. This unique and innovative caravan will bring a one-day workshop-style conference to five communities across British Columbia in February-March 2006. The focus is on developing, marketing, and selling high quality, value-added farm products and experiences. The one-day conferences will be held in these communities on these dates:

  • Nanaimo: Monday, February 27 (Dorchester Hotel)
  • Creston: Thursday, March 2 (Creston and District Community Complex)
  • Penticton: Friday, March 3 (Penticton Lakeside Resort/Convention Centre)
  • Kamloops: Saturday, March 4 (Best Western Kamloops)

Farm producers already active in direct farm marketing or agritourism, and others who are exploring their options are encouraged to attend - along with all those who support rural economic development: local government, financial institutions, tourism associations and agents. To find out more about the Caravan (including presenters) and for a registration form to print out and mail, check out the BCATA brochure.

SSFPA applauds BCATA for this initiative!

Focus on the Future

A number of organizations, including the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia and the BC Agriculture Council, have come together to commission the Focus on the Future project that will support further development of the agri-food industry in British Columbia. Specifically the project is intended to:

  • Assess key issues important to producers and processors of food, beverages, nutraceutical and non-food products of agriculture; and
  • Identify strategies and actions that industry, government and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC Foundation can pursue.

The project is divided into four phases. Outlines of each phase and expected outputs can be found at the website.

Organic Consumers Association's Success Stories for 2005

If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the barriers to building a safe, sustainable food supply, read this upbeat Year in Review provided by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), based in Finland, Minnesota. By outlining success stories in the US organic scene (confronting everything from sweatshops to impediments to free speech), OCA describes how consumers with clout can make changes by "watchdogging" the corporate food industry and by working toward "health, justice, and sustainability."

Looking for Olympic Opportunities?

Everyone involved in the Olympics - from construction workers to athletes will be (already are!) hungry, so opportunities in the food sector will present themselves.

The 2010 Commerce Centre helps businesses of all sizes and descriptions from across British Columbia take advantage of the 2010 Games. Its newsletter, in particular, showcases specific opportunities and provides a forum for success stories. For example, this month you can learn how a small web design business in Dawson Creek has already struck Olympic gold..

Resources for Small Businesses

No matter how small your business is, you can take advantage of professional planning and mentoring resources. Small Business BC - whose services are often featured here - is a complete, one-stop source of information including seminar listings, on-line guides, an internet newsletter, links to other organizations, and much more.

Women's Enterprise Centre: A Great Resource for Business Planning

The program formerly known as the Women's Enterprise Society of BC now has a new name (Women's Enterprise Centre) and a new website. It offers the same great services, including essential skills development to help you succeed; empowerment lending to start or grow your business; and personal access to business expertise, peer connections, resources, events and more. If you are a woman starting or growing a business in BC, this program is a well worth investigating. Whether you are male or female, the on-line business planning guides (accessible from the Tools and Resources section) are invaluable in themselves. You can call them toll-free at 1-800-643-7014.

Vancouver Island Chef Wins Prestigious Award

Whitecap books and chef/author Bill Jones have announced that Jones's latest book, Salmon: The Cookbook was selected as "Best Fish and Seafood Book" at the 2005 Gourmand and World Cookbook Awards. Based in Barcelona, Spain, the Gourmand competition featured more than 6,000 entries in all categories.

The author of nine cookbooks, Bill Jones lives in the Cowichan Valley. He was also a Gourmand winner in 2003 with Chef's Salad.

... and While We're On the Subject of Chef Bill Jones ...

.... we should direct you to the Cowichan Valley's Deerholme Farms and its exciting series of cooking workshops, hosted by Bill and his co-chef, James Barbour. The first is a seafood extravaganza with a Valentine's theme. Learn how to cook the world's best crab, shellfish from Cortez and Quadra Islands, and fish plucked from local waters, February 11, 2006.

An Excellent Guide to Food Processing

The focus of Your Food Processing Guide for Ontario is, of course, on Ontario products and regulations, but there is much here that is universal. The Guide is intended to help the food business entrepreneur start, manage and grow a business. It takes a look at some of the important areas specific to the food processing business, including 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.

Technical Reports from BC Research Fisheries Technology Division

After BC Research's Fisheries Technology Division closed down some years ago, the Technical Reports and Industry Information Reports were entrusted to Denise DeLeebeeck, Instructor/Coordinator at Bait's Fish Harvesting & Processing Technology/ Food Technology Program. These are reports produced from research projects from 1979-1989. They can be distributed to anyone interested at no cost for single copy requests within North America. Batch requests and requests from outside North America will incur shipping charges. Email Denise if you are interested. Please provide your name and full mailing address with your request.

Community Economic Development in BC: 2006 E-Newsletter

This monthly newsletter is published by the BC/ Yukon Community Economic Development Network, a regional network of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network. With a circulation of over 1,200 it's a prime communications tool for those undertaking the important task of revitalizing our communities, both urban and rural. If you'd like to subscribe or if you have information you'd like to share, email Ellie Parks.

Coast Capital Savings Named Leading Corporate Citizen ... and a Great Employer, Too

One of SSFPA's supporters, Coast Capital Savings, received a Canadian Investment Award for the second consecutive year by Imagine Canada. The award was open to organizations in the financial services sector; companies were judged on their contributions to the community, responsible business practices and overall reputation as a good corporate citizen.

In December 2005, the Globe and Mail's "Report on Business" also reported that Coast Capital Savings was listed among Hewitt Associates’ 50 Best Employers in Canada. As identified by Hewitt, leadership, career development, and recognition were three areas where the "Best" outdid other organizations, resulting in a significant positive impact on employee engagement. More than 137 organizations and 100,000+ employees participated in the study.

Lloyd Craig, Coast Capital Savings' President and CEO stated: “2005 has been an outstanding year for our credit union and today’s award is a testament to our employees’ hard work and help in creating a dynamic corporate culture here at Coast Capital.”

The Incredible Expanding 100 Mile Diet

The "hundred mile" diet, the food adventures of J. B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, continues to be chronicled in the on-line publication Tyee. This month, MacKinnon and Smith inform their readers, "No, we're not gaining weight. We're gaining allies." Follow their progress and the insights they are gathering from eating locally-produced food.

Give a Listen to "Deconstructing Dinner"

We at sound bits are committed to a multimedia approach to food issues, so we're pleased when we find broadcast material that we can recommend. A new radio series, Deconstructing Dinner, put on by Kootenay Co-op Radio and hosted by Jon Steinman, "report[s] on current issues throughout the world of food, with a primary focus on local, regional, and provincial issues." It seeks to "assist listeners in making more educated choices when purchasing food either for the kitchen or at food-service establishments."

.A journalist specializing in food and beverages (including a column on beer), Steinman focuses on independent and family-operated producers and retailers. Even if you don't live in the Kootenays, you can listen live via the internet, Thursday evenings from 6 to 7 pm.

MORE sound bits NEWS

  • Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks: Short items from and about the small-scale food sector
  • SSFPA Reports, Publications, and Documents
  • The Co-Operators Group Successfully Defends Co-ops in Ottawa
  • Links to Related Sites

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