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Island food producers get ready to grow

Nanaimo’s agri-food businesses will be given some food for thought during the Get Ready to Grow road show.

The Small Scale Food Processor Association (SSFPA) is bringing ideas to food processors in eight communities across B.C., including the Harbour City on Nov. 13, at the Beban Park Social Centre.

According to SSFPA executive director Candice Appleby, registration for the Nanaimo event is already fully booked.

“We may end up doing another one,” she said.

Get Ready to Grow will feature four key presentations to help local food businesses maximize their profit year round.

“We believe that there is more and more demand for [food] product that people know where it’s coming from,” Appleby said. “What we’re providing them with is the pathways as well as the tools and resources to manage that growth.”

The presentations are: Things you need to know to start a food business; Adopting digital technology; Grow Safely with WorkSafe BC; and Food Safety tools and resources.

Appleby said ‘value added’ is the key buzz-word for today’s small businesses.

“It’s very challenging for small farms to compete with the fresh produce imports,” Appleby said. “As companies grow, they have to do other things.”

She said growers can extend their season by turning produce into product, as an example.

Road show attendees will learn how to utilize the Internet to market their products, through use of websites and social networks.

They’ll also learn about the courses available through the SSFPA’s Learning Management System, which include issues such as recall, traceability, co-packing, and training courses for food processing workers.

For more information, please visit the Small Scale Food Processor Association website at www.ssfpa.net or call 1-866-619-7372.

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