Small Scale Food Processor Association SSFPA

Community Futures Leads New Food Connection Project

Bill Kershaw, Chairperson of Community Futures Thompson Country (CFTC), has announced a major new project exploring ways and means to improve the connections between local food producers and major local consumers. "CFTC's mandate from the Government of Canada has always been to foster regional economic development," he says. "For a number of years, we've known that enhancing regional agriculture has real potential to boost the area's economy."

Kershaw says the Thompson Shuswap Food Connections Project is "one of the most significant partnership efforts to strengthen agricultural cash flow ever undertaken in the region."

"We want to look at the way food is consumed, using Thompson Rivers University and two other major local public institutions as sample consumers.”

"Next we'll study the true costs of delivering the food - including the carbon emissions associated with transportation and distribution of food to major buyers. Our real interest is in discovering just how much of this demand could be met locally by matching producers and consumers," he says. "If major users can buy locally produced food there's a major reduction in shipping costs, as well as a reduction in carbon emissions associated with food transport.”

"Our preliminary research shows us that if producer-consumer matching happens, there is likely to be a need for a local food processing facility - which means more jobs and additional opportunities for producers to compete more effectively in the specialty food market place."

Specialty foods include bakery items, salsas, dips, dressings, syrup (birch), vinegars, yogurt, ethnic foods, pastas, wild berries, and edible mushrooms.  Specialty meat items include goat, bison, deli meats and sausage.

Funding for the Thompson Shuswap Food Connections Project is provided by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia through the former federal-provincial safety nets framework (up to $38,796), the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation ($15,000), the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition ($15,000) and CFTC ($5,000).

Click here to download a project overview.

For project details, visit the project web site at http://tsfoodconnections.ca or contact Shirley Culver at CFTC (250-828-8772).