sound bits

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




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

Let's Savour Summer!


Message from the Board of Directors

The AGM has come and gone with some very concrete directives from the membership. The SSFPA was incorporated in 2002, with a strategic direction and subsequent five year strategic plan embraced by all participants. We are encouraged to report to the membership that this five year plan has been achieved in four years. The initial strategic plan called for a cooperative approach to attain economies of scale in order to stay competitive in the market economy. For more information on this initiative, contact Local Flavours Products and Services Cooperative at:

Now it is time to reassess the needs of the members and what activities the SSFPA should undertake to best serve the identified needs. A survey of the membership will commence shortly.

Over the past four years, issues and opportunities in the agri-food sector have been consistently evolving, with Canadians taking a keen interest in nutritional quality and the methods utilized by the industry. Opportunities for small scale food processors and producers continue to increase as these trends gain momentum.

Reflecting this, the SSFPA has completed two projects over the past twelve months.

  • The Recipe for Success program was jointly sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, The Cooperators, and the British Columbia Investment Agriculture Foundation. The program provided a pathway to engage industry groups, associations, and businesses around the province with the small scale food industry and the diversity of products that the small scale food sector represents. Over 200 participants took advantage of this program.
  • The SSFPA collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands in developing a BC Specialty Food On-line Directory as an initiative under the Ministry of Health Act Now Program. Phase 1 of this project has been completed and Phase 2 of the project will commence in early August 2006. The directory hosts over 600 products and represents millions of dollars to the economy of British Columbia. For more information, email:

You can read the entire message from our Board of Directors in our most recent Sound Bites publication. We encourage you to have a voice in the advancement of the small scale food sector and invite you to participate in the Small Scale Food Processor Association. For more information and membership application, email:

BC Specialty Foods Directory: Get listed!

This new, web-based specialty foods directory, organized by SSFPA, is now on-line. The goal is to provide small scale producers and processors with greater access to alternative sales channels and a simpler, faster and more convenient way for the food service industry to source local foods.

If you would like to be included in the BC Specialty Foods Directory, complete the on-line application.

There are no costs associated for being listed in the Directory. However eligibility criteria do exist, as listed in the application form. If you have questions regarding this initiative, please email or call SSFPA at our toll-free number, 1-866-54-SSFPA (1-866-547-7372).

Members Corner:

Meet Philip Watney

SSFPA Member Philip Watney, B. Sc., brings over a dozen years experience in food processing, microbiology, quality control and certified organic manufacturing in the BC food and beverage industries. As an independent consultant, he provides practical technical assistance and helps clarify requirements for food safety and organic certification. He also represents a leading supplier of low-cost temperature monitoring devices for companies with temperature sensitive products. For more information, visit his website.

For the past three years, Philip has represented the SSFPA in a technical capacity on several federal-provincial food safety initiatives. On the advisory committee for the BC Food Quality and Safety Initiative (an Investment Agriculture AFFF fund), he helped disburse matching funds for BC food industry food safety efforts. For information, go to .

Most recently he has brought a small-scale perspective to the development of the Food Safety Initiative (FSI), a food safety education and outreach program that will be delivered this fall by the BCCDC and BC Ministry of Health to every food processor in the province. For information, go to

Currently Philip Watney is negotiating on behalf of the SSFPA for an additional implementation element to this FSI program that would reimburse individual processors for their food safety expenses.

The End of Food?

The end of history was bad enough, but now the end of food? A book, written by Canadian author Thomas Pawlick, describes how and why corporate-produced food becomes increasingly non nourishing and even toxic. SSFPA member D'Arcy McCrea of Pepperheads Canada recommends The End of Food and has found the author's promotional interviews provocative as well, especially his story about the Italian tomato that provided him with a food epiphany. [We have another "End of ...." item in this issue of sound bits. Check out the article below on local foods and the (gasp!) End of Wal-Mart.]

A Deal on 200 Ml Bottles 

Can the presentation of your product be enhanced by a high-quality, long-necked bottle like this?

This 200 ml glass container has a cork finish and is flint (clear) coloured. Robertson Estates has a supply of 2,400 of these bottles in 12-pack cases.

The price is $0.56 each. To order some bottles - or to get more information - email Pat Robertson or call him at (250) 423-3441

Let's Get to Know You and Your Business

We at sound bits encourage any and all SSFPA members to submit a brief biography and description of your product or service. We will include an item, based on your submission, in our "Members' Corner" section and, if you have a website, we'll add a link to it.

Other News and Views

Investment Agriculture Foundation News

BC's Investment Agriculture Foundation has a new website, a new executive board and, after a successful pilot year, an expanded small projects program. The program addresses the needs of smaller industry organizations undertaking lower cost projects. Due to reduced paperwork at both the application and report stages of the project, it has been successful in offering efficient access to funding. Twenty five small projects have been successfully funded to date. Projects funded during the first year of the program include demonstration projects, applied research, speaker costs, marketing plans and educational projects.

InfoBasket: An Agri-Food Portal



The InfoBasket portal is a free information service provided by the BC Ministry Agriculture and Lands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Producers, processors, suppliers and agricultural students can find information on anything from production to business, marketing, regulatory and statistical information. It also has a section in each of these "Communities" called "Directories and Contacts" where links to other websites are included.

The people at InfoBasket encourage other organizations and businesses to link to their website as a means of providing easy and mutual access to agricultural business information. For more information on linking to InfoBasket, visit its contact page.

Food Secure Canada

Food Secure Canada (FSC) is a recently-formed Canadian organization which unites people and organizations working for food security nationally and globally. In conjunction with the Community Food Security Coalition, the FSC will be hosting its Fourth Annual Conference, "Bridging Borders Toward Food Security” in Vancouver, October 7-11, 2006 at the Sheraton Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street). Conference themes include: Food Secure Communities, Food and Institutions, Food and Cities, and Global Food Issues.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: A User-Friendly Approach

This federal government department "provides information, research and technology, and policies and programs to achieve security of the food system, health of the environment and innovation for growth." It has re-designed its website, making it more accessible to busy food producers and processors. It also maintains a toll-free number (1-866-452-5558) to answer questions about its services. We dialed it recently and a person answered! Then we were transferred quickly to a knowledgeable individual within this department.

Personal service from real people...quite an innovation!

Introducing Branding Canada

This initiative is designed to help take Canada’s positive international image and leverage it to increase the profile and sales of Canadian food and agriculture products abroad.

Branding Canada's new website is filled with tips on building the Canada brand, consumer and buyer market research in Canada’s key export markets, suggestions for co-branding, professional photographs, Canada brand graphics in different file and colour formats, and much more. This initiative is designed to help take Canada’s positive international image and leverage it to increase the profile and sales of Canadian food and agriculture products abroad.

For further information, or to gain access to all the tools on the Branding Canada Web Site, email Renee Umezuki or phone him at 604-666-3686.

A Guide to Selling to Food Service Distributors

The ActNow BC initiative funded the development of the Guidelines for BC Food Producers and Processors on Selling to Food Service Distributors. The guide is a valuable resource to those mid-sized companies who wish to expand their business into the commercial foodservice business.

Announcing Annual Feast of Fields Events - Three Venues This Year

Farm Folk/City Folk's annual fundraising events will have three venues this years: in Whistler, the Lower Mainland, and Vancouver Island. Come and taste the best of BC chefs, vintners, brewers, food artisans, and producers. More details are available at Farm Folk/City Folks website.

Whistler Feast of Fields: North Arm Farm in Pemberton, Saturday, August 19. Tickets went on sale on Wednesday, July 19 for this first annual Whistler-area feast. Make it a culinary weekend with Slow Food's Cycle Sunday on August 20th!

Lower Mainland Feast of Fields: Vista D'oro Farms in Langley, Sunday, September 10. Tickets went on sale starting Saturday, July 15.

Vancouver Island Feast of Fields: Glendale Gardens & Woodland, Sunday, September 17. Tickets went on sale August 1.

Small-Scale Egg Producers: An Opportunity to Share Information

University of Victoria Graduate student Jessica Duncan is working on an MA thesis that examines the relationship between small-scale egg producers (unregistered, with under 99 layers), inspections and marketing boards. Her research question emerged from Saltspring Island's recent “egg wars” and moves through an examination of egg production in BC, from the standpoint of a small-scale producer. The goal is to highlight current contradictions and problems with the system and to make recommendations. Another goal is to produce a map of the egg production system from the farmer up through the health authorities, the province, the federal government and up to mediating international economic agencies and agreements. She plans to distribute this map to producers and others interested in how the system works.

Jessica would like to hear from you if you have an anecdote or story that outlines your experience with inspectors, the marketing boards - or any other egg story you'd like to share. Email Jessica or call her at (250) 380-1967 or (604) 880-8562 (her cell number).

US "Organic" Milk Boycott Spreads

Be careful if you purchase so-called organic dairy products in the United States. While government bureaucrats delay closing key loopholes in national organic standards, retailers, wholesalers and major “organic” producers are continuing to sell suspect brands of milk and dairy products labeled as "USDA Organic." This milk comes from factory farm feedlots where the animals have been brought in from conventional farms and are kept in intensive confinement, with little or no access to pasture. Imported soy milks, originating in places where environmental standards and workers' rights are ignored, are also coming under boycott pressure.

The original boycott, organized by the Organic Consumers Association, focused on the Horizon and Aurora brands. It is now being expanded to include five national "private label" organic milk brands supplied by Aurora, as well as two leading organic soy products, Silk and White Wave, owned by Horizon's parent company, Dean Foods. The campaign against the "Shameless Seven" has been joined by thousands of organic consumers and a number of natural food stores and co-operatives. However major national grocery retailers in the US have largely ignored the boycott.

How Local Food Goes Forth and Multiplies (The End of Wal-Mart?)

This article by Canadian food analyst Wayne Roberts was adapted from NOW Magazine and sent to us from the Toronto Food Policy Council:

If hometown business enthusiast Michael Shuman has his crystal ball in working order, we now know where global insecurities about pandemics, terrorism and scarcity lead.

The affluence and apathy of the 1950s spawned prophecies about the End of Ideology; the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s led to predictions about the End of History; mass layoffs at giant corporations during the 1990s forecast the End of Work. But global insecurities about pandemics, terrorism and scarcity in the new century, if hometown business enthusiast Michael Shuman gets his 15 minutes as a crystal ball reader, foretell the End of Wal-Mart.  
Read more ....

End of the 100 Mile Diet? No Way!

We've been following the "local eating sojourn" of B. MacKinnon and Alisa Smith in Tyee Magazine for the past year, as they stick to an evolving diet of food produced within 100 miles of their Lower Mainland home. Read about its lasting and rippling impacts in the final installment and check out the entire series on the 100 Mile Diet website.

Meet the Editor

Mary Murphy has been producing sound bits since 2003, when she began her work for the Small Scale Food Processor Association. "It was a good way to connect with our expanding membership and to link the organization with other groups and individuals working in the small scale food sector," explains Mary. "It started as a simple emailed list of short news items and now is a two-page 'website within a website.'" The on-line newsletter goes out to several hundred subscribers eight or more times per year.

Mary lives in Port Alice in Northern Vancouver Island. Her small business specializes in website design and training, internet marketing, and on-line newsletter publication.


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