Investment Ag Foundation: "We're
Here to Help You....."
...get innovative ideas off the ground for the
benefit of business and the industry as a whole." The Investment
Agriculture Foundation (IAF) of BC is a non-profit organization that
invests federal and provincial funds to help the agri-food sector
adjust to change. Ag has also formed the BC Food and Beverage Processor's
Council, of which SSFPA is a member. It also sponsors the Food and
Beverage Processing Industry Initiative, a $1.5 million fund for implementing
industry goals and strategies. The types of activities which may be
funded through the Initiative include research and development, training
and education, technology development and transfer, market development,
communications, and environmental enhancement. Cost sharing between
the governments and industry - on a 50/50 basis - is a key principle
of the Futures Fund. Find out more about the Initiative here.
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.
Eating Up the Earth: How
Sustainable Food Systems Shrink Our Ecological Footprint.
Everything we do leaves an impact, an "ecological
footprint." This policy statement from the Redefining
Progress organization identifies strategies for shrinking the
size of our footprint, with an emphasis on food production: "The
food sector provides a golden opportunity to reduce our ecological
deficit through sustainable consuption and production, regionalism,
and steady-state economics." Read more here.
Update on Monsanto-Schmeiser Case:
Round One to Monsanto.
Last month, sound bits carried an
item about Percy Schmeiser, who was visiting Powell River, BC. Schmeiser
is the Saskatchewan organic grain farmer who has been locked in battle
with mega-food/chemical giant, Monsanto over gene patents. (Monsanto
accused the farmer of patent infringement because some its product,
genetically engineered seeds, had taken root on Schmeiser's land.)
On May 21, The Supreme Court of Canada narrowly
decided in favour of Monsanto. The 5-4 ruling allows biotech corporations
monopoly control over seeds, plants, and their proency on the basis
that they consist of cells containing patented genes - either intentionally
or as a result of GMO (genetically modified organism) contamination.
The political battle regarding patents on life forms will continue,
as Parliament will undoubtedly be called upon to clarify the law.
Meanwhile, the Saskatchewan Organic Directorate's
Organic Agriculture Protection Fund is supporting legal action by
certified organic farmers seeking compensation for damages caused
by GMO canola contamination. Click here
to find out more.
A Model for Action: US Department of Agriculture Backs Down
Stung by a nationwide backlash by the Organic
Consumers Association (OCA) members and the entire US organic
community, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced
May 26 that it would rescind controversial policies that would have
undermined organic standards and violated federal law requiring public
input. In April, the USDA announced that it would no longer monitor
organic labels on non-food products, and added that pesticides, animal
drugs, growth hormones, antibiotics, and tainted fishmeal would be
allowed on organic farms. In response, the OCA launched a media campaign
to pressure the USDA into reversing its controversial directives.
A landslide of faxes, emails and phone calls hit
the USDA; meanwhile other consumer groups joined the fray, the Organic
Trade Association rallied industry support, and a class action lawsuit
was prepared. The USDA capitulated on May 26, when it became clear
that 30 million organic consumers in the US were not going to accept
the agency's practices.
Council of Canadians' Elections
The writ has been dropped, the candidates are
on the campaign trail, and the Council
of Canadians wants to get people talking. Online and interactive,
the Council's new Federal
Elections Discussion Forum is a place to discuss issues that affect
Canadians. Whether or not our politicians put these priorities on
the agenda, the Council is encouraging citizens to ask their candidates
about such issues as genetically engineered foods, factory farming,
and corporate lawsuits under NAFTA's Chapter 11. The forum is divided
into four main sections:
- On the Campaign Trail" is designed for
people to discuss timely and emerging election issues;
- "The Canada You Want" is divided
into categories based on the Council's core campaigns;
- "The Parties" provides a space for
people to chat about the various political parties, and how they
are faring during the campaign; and
- "Talking to Politicians" is divided
according to province, and is designed to allow people to record
statements that candidates are making at all-candidates meetings,
on people's doorsteps, and in the media.
on Bird Flu Economic Impact
This is an important "food
security" issue that affects us all! Does the factory farming
of chickens provide fertile ground for a crisis? Does factory farming
of all of our other food do the same? Is it time to re-localize our
Make your voice heard! This is
not just a Fraser Valley problem!
Western Economic Diversification
is funding three Fraser Valley Community Futures Development Corporations
to collect quotes and present these concerns about the bird flu economic
impact to WD.
Heidi Trautman is working at the
Sto:lo Community Futures and would like to hear concerns from First
Nations and Organic stakeholders. Do you eat organic? You are a stakeholder.
This is how we can get the grassroots social and ecological concerns
heard, to help balance the factory farm profit concerns that usually
are heard above all else.
Please phone Heidi at 604-858-0009
or e-mail at email@example.com.
Did You Know.....
In BC, only 20% of our food is
produced at home. Eighty percent of our food is imported.
We believe that if this ratio is reversed, we will reclaim our food
systems, create many jobs throughout the "value chain,"
and revitalize communities. Who are we?
- Farmers who wish to increase
farm income, save our farms and communities.
- Urban dwellers who love food
and wish to create jobs for ourselves.
- Most of us are women!
Learn more about this "out
of the box" analysis from this presentation
given by SSFPA representatives Frank Moreland and Sandra Mark at the
conference, "Building Sustainable Food Systems in Southeastern
BC," held in March, 2004. This forum was hosted by Growing Green,
a collaborative project of West Coast Environmental Law, Farm Folk/City
Folk, and the Liu Institute for Global Issues. The Growing
Green project has just wrapped up and has many reports available
on its web site that are of interest to small-scale agri-entrepreneurs.
Have to Be This Way! (A Comparison)
Can you imagine why Quebec adds
value to 85% of their produce, and BC adds value to 15%? One explanation
is that Quebec has the advantage of a strong "social economy."
The SSFPA recently joined the Canadian Community Economic Development
Network (CCED-NET). The business plan of the SSFPA contains language
and strategies to describe the "social enterprise" the SSFPA
is creating as a "shared services co-operative" pilot project
on Vancouver Island in 2004-05.
To understand more about the "social
economy" and "social enterprise," read this press
release from CCED-NET. You might also want to check out this excerpt
from the government of Canada's last budget speech and hold it accountable
for the improvements needed!
Bar Code News for
Retail Importers: Will You Be Ready for 2005?
Quoting the latest issue of Au
Courant, the newsletter of the Food and Consumer Product Manufacturers
of Canada: "Currently products coming into the U.S and Canada
that are identified with data structures other than the 12-digits
U.P.C. cannot be stored in North American company databases. However,
in the year 2005 a change is coming that will open up a whole new
era of global supply chain efficiency. In 2005 the 13-digit trade
items making their way around the world will be recognizable by almost
1,000,000 companies in over 100 countries.... Canada and the United
States are the only countries still continuing with the 12-digit U.P.C.
symbol. Retailers who import foreign goods and cannot handle a 13-digit
bar code must re-tag them a costly labour-intensive process
fraught with the possibilities for error." For more information,
go to the latest issue of Au
Courant at the FCPMC web site.
First Nations Nutrition and Health
This conference will be held on June 17 and 18
at the Squamish Nation Recreation Centre in North Vancouver. Click
here for details on
the program and for registration information. The focus of the conference
is to assist in the "development of novel ways and means to reclaim
the health of the people of the First Nations." This is the only
independent forum of its kind in Canada. The FNNGC relies solely on
volunteer help and does not rely on financial support from governments,
corporations, foundations, or aboriginal organization.
Revised Guide to Food Labelling and Advertising
to Food Labelling and Advertising (the Guide) has been extensively
revised to reflect amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations (FDR)
relating to: mandatory nutrition labelling on prepackaged foods, changes
to criteria for nutrient content claims, and conditions and criteria
for diet-related health claims.
The revised Guide, called 2003 Guide to Food Labelling
and Advertising (the 2003 Guide), is intended to be a reference document
for the food industry, government, health professionals, and consumers
that describes sometimes complex regulatory requirements and policies
in plain language. The regulations mainly proceed from the Food and
Drugs Act, the Food and Drug Regulations, and the Consumer Packaging
and Labelling Act and Regulations. The Guide is also an important
inspection tool for use by CFIA staff.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency requests your
comments on the new Guide which can be submitted
until December 31, 2004.
A "sound bits" Evaluation
We're still contemplating the
future of sound bits, the on-line publication you are
reading right now. In order for us to plan its future, we encourage
our readers to complete an on-line evaluation form and submit it to
us. The evaluation is simple and quick, and will help us to determine
whether sound bits can become self-supporting, through subscription
sales and/or advertising. Click here
for the form.
Anti-GM Foods Movement
Picks up Steam in UK
Although noted for his commitment
to the US-led war in Iraq, Tony Blair's support for corporate food
policies is less known in this side of the world. His apparent willingness
to allow the planting of genetically modified crops is attracting
increasing opposition in a nation where only 14% of the public supports
this kind of food. Read about the British reaction from the "Green
Gloves" movement. [Note: the Green Gloves web site informs
us that, "Only 4 countries worldwide grow 99% of all GM crops:
the US, Canada, Argentina and China."]
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
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.
Meanwhile, you can find the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's publication
of the labelling rules (both current and transitional) on this page
of the CFIA's web sites.
Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks
Agri-Food Trade Service 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
Food Protection Association's web site is worth a visit. The BCFPA's
most recent newsletter, The Grapevine, is available
Food Guide to Healthy Eating is undergoing
a review. The targeted date for completion of the update is March
2006. Go to the link to find out what changes are proposed so far.
Organic. Organic food is good for
us, but an orange that's good for us 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.
(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 by visiting its web site.
Farm Canada. Learn about Canada's "other farms" in this
new national publication. The editors point out that: "More than
1/2 of Canada's 246,000 agricultural operations are small farms. Yet
you wouldn't know it by reading the mainstream farm press. All they
talk about are tariffs, subsidies and the latest performance statistics
of big tractors." Contact Wendy
Henderson, Advertising Manager, for more information.
Research into the Economics of Local Food Systems.
Check out the following list of research tips here.
Thanks to Bonita Hutcheson for compiling this information and to the
Toronto Food Council for passing it on to us. Also see the fact sheet
of the International Society for Ecology and Culture in our "links"
Other Upcoming Events
The Ag Aware Calendar http://www.agaware.bc.ca/Events/list_events.asp:
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
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
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
and to also include all processor members' contact and product information.
If you are an SSFPA member, you
can take advantage of this opportunity by first reviewing and correcting
your information on the Living Inventory, our interactive database.
You gain access to the Living Inventory on our web site at https://www.ssfpa.net.
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 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 https://www.ssfpa.net/InfoRetrieval/InfoRetrieval1.php.
If you are not a member of SSFPA,
you can join online at https://www.ssfpa.net/Registration/Registration1.php.
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
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: http://www.ssfpa.net/DocsForms/DocsForms.htm
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:
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.
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.
Co-ops have been vital to Canada's food sector for at least a hundred
years. One of six autonomous regions affiliated with 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.
Economic Development Technical Assistance Program. CEDTAP is one
of the most innovative and helpful economic development programs in
Canada. The "Resources and Links" section of its web site
is, in itself, a prime source of information for anyone involved in
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.
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.
Green. A two-year, collaborative project of West Coast Environmental
Law, Farm Folk/City Folk, and the Liu Institute for Global Issues,
Growing Green has recently wrapped up its operations. Its web site
has reports of interest to small-scale agri-entrepreneurs.
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.
International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC).
A non-profit organization concerned with the protection of both biological
and cultural diversity, ISEC's emphasis is "on education for
action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental
influences that shape our lives." Students and researchers should
check out its fact sheet at: http://www.isec.org.uk/factsheet.html#61.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
An awesome collection of information on agriculture and food-sector
business in Australia - with plenty of international information and
links as well.
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
Small Scale Food Processor
Association wishes to thank
the following for their support!
The Investment Agriculture
Foundation of BC assisted SSFPA by partially funding the "Field
to Table" workshops in 2002-03.
CEDTAP generously supported the initial development of our shared
services business plan with VanCity Credit Union. VanCity Credit Union
also has provided key core assistance, helping us to leverage other
funds, to improve our data management systems and our web site, and
to assist our board of directors' strategic planning activities.