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Small-Scale Food Group at Work in Manitoba

On May 14, 2014, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced the formation of a working group to address the small-scale food industry and direct farm marketing in Manitoba.
 
The Small-Scale Food Manitoba working group was created to:
  • increase awareness and promote the benefits of the small food production and processing sector in Manitoba
  • lead conversations across Manitoba to help established, new and potential small processors and direct farm marketers move forward and take advantage of market opportunities
  • ensure food safety for Manitobans remains the number one priority

The working group consisted of representatives from the Manitoba Food Processors AssociationCommunity Supported Agriculture, Farmers Market Association of Manitoba, Food Matters Manitoba, Keystone Agricultural Producers, Canadian Culinary Federation, Harvest Moon Local Food Initiative, the Manitoba meat industry and independent producers with a stake and interest in small-scale food in Manitoba. 

From May, 2014 to January 2015, the working group sought input through in-person consultations, online surveys and meetings with targeted organizations.

In January 2015, Dr. Wayne Lees, chairperson of the Small-Scale Food Manitoba working group, presented the working group’s report (PDF 1.9 MB) to Minister Kostyshyn. 

The report makes 21 recommendations to improve this growing section of the food economy, based on consultations with the public, farmers, processors and many other stakeholders.

Implementing the working group's recommendations

Work is underway to implement many of the working group's recommendations, including the following:

Staffing to support small-scale food production and processing – two staff have been assigned to focus on the needs of small-scale farms and processing businesses. These staff will support the development of resources, tools and programs, as well as the pathfinding of programs and services. They will help to build networks of informal mentors and talk to stakeholders about issues and opportunities. Contact: Jayne Kjaldgaard, Business Development Specialist - Small Food Processing and Jeff Eastman, Farm Production Extension Specialist - Small Farm.

Options for small-scale in the supply managed system - the Farm Products Marketing Council (PDF 26 KB) has created a committee to develop options for small farms to operate within the supply management system. The committee will present these options to government for their consideration by the spring of 2016. 

Food business development guide – an online food business development guide is being prepared. It will show small food processors how to develop or grow their businesses, and will also provide important information on food safety requirements for small-scale producers.

Training – the department offers training on a variety of topics relevant to small scale food producers and processors. Training sessions are posted to our website regularly. The department also partners with the Prairie Fruit Growers Association to offer the Direct Farm Marketing Conference, which offers a variety of topics of interest to farms interested in starting or growing direct farm sales.

Community kitchen list – a listing of community kitchens for rent in Manitoba is now available.

Collaborative marketing – in 2015, MAFRD is conducting a feasibility study on a collaborative marketing and distribution channel to increase small-scale food sales in retail grocery stores and in food service. MAFRD is also working on a fact sheet to clarify the terms of direct marketing and distribution through a collaborative marketing venture.

Promoting local foods – Manitoba has provided $154,000 in support of the Local Sustainable Food Pilot Project, which aims to increase the use of local foods in public institutions. Manitoba also provided nearly $1.3 million to develop the Buy Manitoba program. This program continues to operate with industry contributions.

Manitoba produces an annual Local Produce Guide, which promotes farmers’ markets, pre-picked market stands, U-pick vegetable gardens and community supported agriculture farms. 


 

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