VI Agriculture Show
- Page 8
Collaboration + Cooperation Grow B.C.'s Small Scale Food Business

BY BRIAN SAUL

 

What does small mean to food processors? For the Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA), it means local, pure and simple. Local jobs, local infrastructure, local taxes.

 

The SSFPA is a vibrant and growing organization that offers its members access to education, advocacy and business planning tools, and in some cases, access to capital small food processors – needed to operate seasonal businesses.

 

“Our members are local business people who support and expand local economies, hire local people and create local jobs,” says Candice Appleby, SSFPA’s Executive Director, who advocates for operators at federal and provincial levels. “Our members are well educated and informed, focused on infrastructure and resource development that will support small scale agri-food processing.

 

    MEMBERSHIP TYPES

 

The SSFPA offers two categories of membership: Processors (up to 25 full-time employees), and Supporters (growers, large processors as mentors, related associations, technical service providers and others).

 

“Small scale can lead to large scale, which is why our members are eager to see the next generation of agricultural policy. They are the ones who have the most at stake, and they are the ones who have the infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of the policies,” says Appleby.

 

Membership benefits include education, workshops and online resources, peer-to-peer networking opportunities, group rates for insurance products and marketing packages, and the inside scoop about upcoming trade shows, mini and major trade missions, consultations, funding and investment opportunities.

 

ONLINE TOOLS

 

Popular tools include access to an online database for planners, policy makers, community advocates, local organizations to search for policy precedents, and to better understand how local government policy in B.C. is addressing local food systems. Members can search by a range of characteristics to find food system policies that have been adopted by local governments across B.C.

 

The Food Safety Planning Portal for Food Processors is an online resource with background information about regulations and standards, tools to develop a food safety plan, a database of legislation and regulations, and a library of sample documents. The online BC Specialty Food Directory is a resource for chefs, restaurateurs and specialty food retailers to locate B.C. companies that produce or process great tasting, nutritious foods to enhance the flavour of recipes and dishes.

 

UPCOMING COURSES

 

The list of workshops is long. Popular courses include the Agri-Food Business Planning Program which focuses on marketing tactics; Recipe For Success, for new and existing food and beverage processors, and a variety of food safety modules. Established in 2002, SSFPA represents its members on these boards and committees: National Food Processors Round Table, Canadian Food Safety Supply Chain Coalition, BC Food Safety Stakeholders Round Table, MarketSafe Steering Committee and the Minister of Agriculture Agrifood Advisory Committee. In addition, the SSFPA provides support to many allied associations and specific project areas. To learn more about SSFPA and to become a member, visit: www.ssfpa.net.