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Internet Newsletter
Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA)
1-866-54-SSFPA or 1-866-547-7372
October 2005



[Note: links in this archived newsletter may no longer be active. If there is a document you are unable to gain access to, please contact us.]

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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.

Take pleasure in the fruits of summer's labour

"Changing hats is something we have all become adept at over the years, and within the tasks we, as small-scale food processors and producers take on, love of our craft always floats to the top. Starting with the bounty that good ol' Mother Earth offers through our farmers, orchardists and wild-crafters, we glory over the colours, textures, and tastes that soon become our value-added product, coveted and consumed. It's natural for us all to share a love of this land." -- Kika Joy, SSFPA Member and Director.

Giving Thanks!

What better time of year than the weeks of Autumn harvest to thank BC's Ministry of Agriculture and Lands for providing the Small Scale Food Processor Association with monthly teleconference calls. Since the organization began, these calls have enabled the SSFPA Board of Directors to conduct meetings. Both the Board and the membership wish to express their gratitude for this valuable contribution.


Recipe for Success program is underway

Do you wish to start or grow a small scale agricultural business? Do you require specific business advice? Do you need information on how to finance your venture? The Recipe for Success program could be just for you. It provides:

  • Telephone and face-to-face business planning
  • Assistance with loan application preparations
  • Support (aftercare) once you have a loan.

Seven regional meetings have been set up in BC has been set up to explain Recipe for Success and the opportunities it offers for food and beverage producers and processors. Below is a brief agenda for each meeting:

Opportunities For Food & Beverage Processors / Producers

Presenter: Small Scale Food Processor Association
Topic: Opportunities and Resources

Presenter: Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Topic: Labeling Requirements / Food Safety

Presentations are 3 hours including a refreshment break. Bring your questions!

Pre-registration is recommended.

Dates and locations are:

  • Kamloops
    • November 14, 2005, 9:30 am
    • 550 Columbia Street, Sandman Hotel
    • Local Partner: First Nations Agricultural Lending Association
  • Salmon Arm
    • November 15, 2005, 9:30 am
    • 681 Harbourfront Drive NE, Lakeside Manor
    • Local Partner: CFDC Shuswap
  • Summerland
    • November 16, 2005, 9:30 am
    • Council Chambers, City Hall
    • Local Partner: Summerland Economic Development
  • Creston
    • November 18, 2005, 9:00 am MST
    • 312D - 19th Avenue N, Community Complex, Lister Room
    • Local Partner: Creston Valley Sustainable Agricultural Committee
  • Aggasiz
    • November 21, 2005, 9:30 am
    • 58611A Lougheed Hwy
    • Local Partner: Skawahlook First Nation
  • Mission/Abbotsford
    • November 22, 2005, 9:30 am
    • 100-32383 South Fraser Way
    • Local Partner: South Fraser Valley Community Futures
  • Courtenay
    • November 23, 2005, 9:30 am
    • #200 - 580 Duncan
    • Local Partner: Community Futures Strathcona

BC Specialty Foods Directory in the Works

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has asked SSFPA to prepare a digital Specialty Foods Directory for the province of British Columbia. Stay tuned for more details, available soon.

New contact information for SSFPA

  • Our phone number (toll free) is now now 1-866-54-SSFPA (1-877-547-7372)
  • Our e-mail address is

Members Corner:

Get to Know SSFPA - and Ourselves: A Letter from Kika Joy.


Kika Joy, one of SSFPA's newest Board members, would like fellow members to share their thoughts and their stories with one another.... she encourages you all to "curl up with your cocoa and computer" and communicate! She kicks off this series with her own letter:


Hello SSFPA Members,

Welcome and Happy Autumn to the hard working SSFPA members dispersed throughout our beautiful province. Like many, I'm very busy this time of year gearing up for another long processing season, but as a newly appointed Board Member, I take this opportunity to promote some community response within our membership far and wide.

First, a brief introduction. Just over a year ago I heard of SSFPA while volunteering at the 2004 Feast of Fields (the all-organic Farmer-to-Chef event held annually in both Vancouver and Duncan). Having already been busy building my small processing business over the previous three years, I was delighted to learn there exists an association that reflects my ideals and goals as a small-scale food processor. I immediately became a member. One year later I was invited to sit on the Board and was honoured to do so (this, by the way, is a position open to other Members/Supporters in the years to come).

As is any organization worthy of nurture and growth, I soon learned that SSFPA had been setting the scene, gnashing over details, and bringing virtual to reality. In truth, I remain in awe of the immense task that it has set out; it has gained recognition of the small processing sector from many levels of the federal and provincial governments and established contact from communities of individuals throughout western Canada. My inclusion in this group - and in this process - has become a source of inspiration. Meanwhile, I have also been introduced to a wonderful group of dedicated, involved people.

Changing hats is something we have all become adept at over the years, and within the tasks we, as small-scale food processors and producers take on, love of our craft always floats to the top. Starting with the bounty that good 'ol Mother Earth offers through our farmers, orchardists and wild-crafters, we glory over the colours, textures and tastes that soon become our value-added product, coveted and consumed. It's natural for us all to share a land of this land!

Feeling this, I'm deeply encouraged to learn what other SSFPA Members are working on in their communities. Do we all share the same hurdles? Decisions such as selling at farmers' markets vs. retail food markets; the advantages to growing our businesses or staying small; the dilemmas surrounding UPC codes and packaging and bottling costs; the art of developing eye catching labels.

Last of all, each of us may ask him or herself this: will my crazy pride and hard work turn around and consume me?

I offer up this space for all you members to write in and become the important voice that you are. E-mail (surely one of the miracles of our age) allows like-minded people to freely connect; so over the coming months I urge you to curl up with your cocoa and computer and send you story. Living on-the-fringe with dial up? Here's your opportunity to "pen the humours of life" during that forecasted blizzard or endless week of rain.



[If you still have time to read, go to my Member Bio on the next page of sound bits]


Welcoming a New Board Member

The SSFPA membership and sound bits would like to welcome Trevor Kempthorne to the board of directors. Mr. Kempthorne has extensive experience in agriculture and is currently General Manager of the First Nations Agricultural Lending Association in BC.


Lifestyle Markets and the Quality of Life Challenge

Another SSFPA member, Lifestyle Markets, was recently recognized by the Victoria-based society, Quality of Life Challenge. This organization focuses on bringing people together to create solutions in the areas of housing, sustainable incomes, employment, and community connections. Last summer its Employer Challenge newsletter focused on Lifestyle Markets and the way it supports and encourages its staff members. The story of one employee, Simon Cherry, exemplifies Lifestyle Markets' slogan, "dedicated to wellness in the community."

Changes at Natanis Natural Foods

Long-time SSFPA member Natanis Chrisensen recently contacted us at sound bits to say: "I have had some changes in my life and business, Natanis Natural Foods. Included in those changes was the sale of the kitchen I sublet. I decided it was time to say good bye to my business after 8 years, many challenges and a great deal of learning. I have met many wonderful people along the way and hope to see them as I go along in life in my new direction. Best wishes for all involved in the SSFPA."

Natanis encourages anyone who wants to start up a new business or expand an existing business to contact her and she'll share her experiences and expertise. She can be reached at (250) 475-0032 or via e-mail. [Note: Natanis has specialized in producing vegetarian pates and foods for people with allergies and other special conditions.]

Other News and Views

US Government Threatens to Downgrade American Organic Standards

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is calling attention to a "sneak attack": the fact that the Bush administration is working to alter what constitutes organic food. The OCA advises: "Now large corporations such as Kraft, Wal-Mart, & Dean Foods -- aided and abetted by the US Department of Agriculture. (USDA) -- are moving to lower organic standards by allowing a Bush appointee to create a list of synthetic ingredients that would be allowed [into] organic production. Even worse, these proposed regulatory changes will reduce future public discussion and input.... USDA bureaucrats and industry lobbyists, not consumers, will not have more control over what can go into organic foods and products."

If this happens in the US, can Canada -- in the globalized context of food production -- be far behind? Learn more about the "Sneak Attack" and OCA's response.

2005 Concept to Commerce Workshops

The BC Food Processors Association and the BC Functional Food & Nutraceutical Network are pleased to announce the launch of their 2005 Concept to Commerce Workshop series. This year, the events will be held in the following dates and places:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 - Abbotsford, BC (agenda available)
Thursday, October 20, 2005 - Kamloops, BC (agenda available)
Tuesday, November 15 - Prince George, BC (agenda available soon)

These workshops provide an opportunity to hear about and discuss programs and services available to food or agri-processing companies. Speakers are experts from the food industry; provincial and federal governments; service providers; and centres for industrial innovation, research, and development. They will introduce their programs and services and provide practical examples of how they can help you grow your business.

Spaces are filling up, and the registration deadline for the Abbotsford and Kamloops seminars is October 14 at 2 pm. An on-line registration form is available, and questions can be directed to Dorota Zawistowska at 604-822-6920.

BC Organic Harvest Awards - November 5, 2005

Certified Organic Associations of BC (COABC) will be hosting its BC Organic Harvest Awards, celebrating leaders in the organic products sector. It will be a celebration of great organic food, fine wine and good company. National Post Business magazine recently reported that sales of organic food in Canada as climbing at 20% a year, so there is much to celebrate.

Awards categories include: Best Non-Alcoholic Beverage, Best Alcoholic Beverage, Best Bakery Product, Best Dairy Product, Best Livestock Producer, and many, many others. It will be held in Vancouver at the Coast Plaza Hotel on Saturday, November 5. Call (250-260-4429) or e-mail COABC for more information.

Planning Tools for the Small Meat Producers and Processors in BC

BC Food Processors Association provides two useful guides on-line:

  • Planning Tools for Small Regional Meat Processors in British Columbia.This on-line resource guide is for those wishing to develop or upgrade a slaughter facility for provincial licensing. It contains a self-assessment guide, development guide, and business templates for red meat and poultry, and both fixed and mobile establishments.
  • Selling and Buying BC Meat. This resource focuses on inspection and regulations in BC's meat industry. Information is provided for producers, abattoir operators, meat processors, buyers, and consumers.

Affordable Small Business Seminars

Small Business BC offers a wide variety of affordable - any many free - seminars in Vancouver for small business operators. Check the fall schedule. If you are a small food producer/processor, there is almost sure to be something of interest.

Selling to BC

Senior governments are among the most voracious consumers of goods and services. Do you have something to sell to the province of BC? If so, learn what you need to know, including Frequently Asked Questions, a guide on how to respond to a provincial Request for Proposal, and a list of public sector buyers.

Canadian Agricultural Skills Service (CASS) Program

CASS is now available in BC, delivered through Service Canada. 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.

The benefits are staged according to family income: less than $35,000 family income up to $18,000 in training support; $35-$40 K $12,000 in training support; $ 40 - $45 K $12,000 in benefits. Formal training (college/short courses) and informal training (field days, conferences) as well as associated expenses (replacement labour and child care) are eligible. Plus training in both farm and off-farm skills is eligible.

Food Safety Network (FSN)

New Website

The Food Safety Network at the University of Guelph, Ontario provides research, commentary, policy evaluation and public information on food safety issues. It also features a new website with an expanded search engine capacity (60,000 articles and news stories!).

The website also joins forces with the "blogosphere," hosting two new blogs.

  • (a forum for food safety questions, with the following rationale:"the more stories people can swap about puking, the more you can learn about not making yourself sick");
  • (a place to confess your food handling sins; we hope absolution is included!).

FSN: Global Focus on Food-Related Diseases Needed

Just as food production and processing is increasingly global, so is the distribution of food-related disease. FSN reports that researchers who met recently in Winnipeg called for an international surveillance system, which would include developing countries (North America and Europe already share much of this information). A press release on the conference stated that "while governments and the media have focused on SARS, Avian flu, and other new illnesses, they should not lose sight of food-related diseases, which result in sickness and death around the world each year." Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director of a Winnipeg laboratory, commented, "I think ... part of the explanation why they [food borne diseases like salmonella] don't get the attention that some other diseases do is because they've been with us for a long time. What's new is often perceived as a greater threat." But people are equally harmed (or dead) whether from an old enemy or a brand new one.

Hundred Mile Meals: Getting Canned and Longing for A Legion of Grandmas

Continue the saga of the "hundred mile" diet, being chronicled in the on-line publication Tyee. Remember the guidelines are simple - eat only what can be produced within a hundred miles of your home. After relishing fresh local food for months, the authors, J.B.MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, are now facing a challenge: "Our Hundred Mile Diet experiment in local eating doesn't offer a lot of fresh greens in January, a fact that is only now beginning to sink in.... We see storm clouds on the horizon. Even in Vancouver, the Canadian winter is long."

Read about the "Hundred Mile Culture" they envision. Can canning and preserving becoming a common focus for social gatherings in the autumn? Can a "legion of grandmas" be found to teach the "tricks that have fallen from the modern radar?"

More sound bits News

  • Quick Bits ... Quick Clicks: Short items from and about the small-scale food sector
  • Coming Events
  • SSFPA Reports, Publications, and Documents
  • Links to Related Sites

    sound bits Archives

    You can find all the past issues of sound bits (along with other archived material) at the Archives section of the web site. Some documents referred to may no longer have active links. If there is a document or other information that isn't available, please contact us.

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    Small Scale Food Processor Association
    "We're Big on Small"
    Web site:

    Thanks for the support from Coast Capital Savings
    for both SSFPA and Local Flavours Products & Services Cooperative.





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