Biocultural Design & Innovation in Small Scale Food

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Biocultural Design & Innovation in Small Scale Food Systems Sector Scan and Knowledgeable Person Interviews for Southeastern Manitoba —Draft pending revisions following interviewee workshop—

Prepared by: A. Janzen, I.J. Davidson-Hunt and J.P. Robson

Taller BcD Workshop

A collaboration among: Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Centro Interdisciplinario de Estudios sobre Desarrollo, Universidad de Los Andes, Jaina – Comunidad de Estudios, Tarija, Bolivia

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Grant # 435-2015-1478 (PI DavidsonHunt) Biocultural Design and Innovation in Small-Scale Food Systems August 2017 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons

Background The province of Manitoba has a long history of agricultural production. First Nation Peoples thrived from Manitoba’s resources prior to European contact although this became more challenging as settles populated and converted the prairies to extensive fields of grain production. Presently, the agricultural industry in Manitoba has a significant impact on the productivity and prosperity of the province’s economy, and the vast diversity and innovation within this sector help to maintain a healthy and stable portion of the province’s GDP. The direct, and indirect, contributions from the agricultural sector to the GDP ranges between 4.4% and 4.8% (Manitoba Agriculture, 2012). The food and beverage industry of Manitoba contributes an additional 2 to 4% to provincial GDP (Manitoba Agriculture, 2012). The farm cash receipts recorded in the province set a new record in 2016 at $5.99 billion, with crop sales totalling $3.66 billion and livestock sales at $2.11 billion (Manitoba Agriculture, 2017). It is predicted that this record will be broken again in 2017, with an anticipated income of $6.02 from farm sales receipts this year (Statistics Canada, 2017). These figures are driven primarily by large scale commercialized farming, as the overall number of farms has been declining in recent years with 14,791 census farms reported in 2016 (Manitoba Agriculture, 2017). Yet, while the number of farms has been declining the average size of the farms that remain has been steadily increasing. The average farm in Manitoba was 1,193 acres in 2016, an increase of 5.1% from the average farm size of 1,135 acres in 2011 (Manitoba Agriculture, 2017). Within this sector dominated by large scale production, there has been a growing subset of small scale farms that have been emerging in recent years. These smaller farms have made use of innovative practices and programs to carve out their own unique sector within Manitoba’s agriculture and food and beverage industries. It is these small scale farms that have been the focus of this research project and this report will focus on the small scale food sector within Manitoba.


This investigation has been conducted as part of the SSHRC sponsored research project entitled “Biocultural Design and Innovation in Small-Scale Food Systems” being carried out through projects in Northwestern Ontario; Southeastern Manitoba; Central Saskatchewan; Oaxaca, Mexico; Tarija, Bolivia and Belize. This research programme, focused on biocultural design as a collaborative practice for community enterprise innovation within local food systems, has been developed with partners in Bolivia and Canada to support their work with communities. The research is applied and participatory and will be undertaken in three case study areas with the following objectives: (1) document the interrelationships between people and biological materials for food systems of selected I&LCs; (2) document food system innovation through case studies of on-going initiatives with I&LCs in the region; (3) implement prototyping processes for food system innovations with selected I&LCs; (4) develop recommendations for policies and programmes to enable local food system innovation. This investigation of the small scale food sector in Manitoba will provide insight upon objectives 2 through 4 as the findings from this research will provide the initial scoping of small scale foods in Manitoba and will establish the starting point for further investigation and follow up research. This report will identify existing actors and innovations within the small scale food sector of Southeastern Manitoba. The design of our research is pragmatic, collaborative and community-based and will be informed by biocultural design practice as an approach to work with communities to solve problems they have identified related to local food systems.


Figure 1. Research Programme Workflow Development of a project team and subteams Meetings & workshops

Established research

Research teams

Meetings, workshops, and other projects


Origins of team

BI scan in each study region - Background documentation review knowledgeable individuals - Interviews with Report of the scan results Selection of BI case studies

Selection of BD pilot projects

(5-6 per study region)

(2-3 per study region) BD pilot project selection criteria selection criteria below Identification of BD pilot projects

BI case study selection criteria Identification of BI cases Documentation of BI case studies - Case study documentation guide - Background documentation review

Development of regional subteams for implementing BD projects Meetings & workshops Design teams

- Interviews with innovators/producers - Workshops/focus groups with innovators/producers

Case study reports

Implementation of BD projects Participatory Design Prototypes / Case study reports

Development of a BI&D Case Study Learning Guide See Table 1 for elements of Learning Guide


Figure 1, on the previous page, outlines the workflow of the research programme. This flow

chart provides the explanation for how case studies identifying biocultural innovation will be developed in each region. The investigation of this report is primarily working within the confines of providing the initial BI scan for the Southeastern Manitoba region, as well as providing a list of contacts, knowledgeable persons, and innovative small scale producers and processors that perhaps may be utilized for BI case studies or BD pilot projects in the region.

Case Study Criteria The goal of the research programme related to small scale food systems in Southeastern Manitoba is to identify possible case studies for further research and investigation. These BI case studies shall be identified through a web scan of public documents as well as interviews with knowledgeable people involved with the small scale food sector in the province. The knowledgeable people interviewed for this report were those who were identified through the preliminary scan and suggested by others who would be aware of the dynamics of small scale producers and processors who broadly meet at least one of the following criteria:

1. A clear focus on foods or food systems that are based upon biocultural heritage, which refers to the knowledge and practices of local people and biocultural resources; ranging from wild biodiversity to genetic varieties of crops developed (including traditional landraces) and the landscapes they create; 2. The presence of a biocultural innovation (or innovations), broadly defined as, related to novel products, services, technologies, institutional arrangements, or a combination of these; 3. Innovator interest in local economic development and some notion of “sustainability”, broadly understood as activities to improve the quality of human life and well-being without exceeding the carrying capacity of ecosystems (after IUCN/UNEP/WWF, 1991).


Web Survey and Market Scan

Beginning with key word internet searches a web scan was conducted to gain some initial

insights into small scale food systems in the province. This scan was effective in finding small scale producers and processors in the province who in some way met the criteria listed above. Small scale producers and processors who make use of particularly innovative practices, make reference to biocultural heritage and materials, and have a focus on sustainability have been identified and documented within a list that has been attached as Appendix 1 of this report. For the purposes of the web survey and market scans producers and processors were identified and taken note of if they met some or all of these criteria. In order to create a comprehensive list, producers and processors were not dismissed if they didn’t quite meet each of the three criteria, but this is only an initial scoping and criteria could be applied to remove individuals or small scale operations from this list during the actual selection for case studies at a later date.

Market scans were completed for a number of Farmers Markets in Winnipeg and the vendors

identified as meeting selection criteria were added to the compiled list found in the appendix of this report. These market scans provided an opportunity to observe small scale producers and processors as they interacted with consumers through the direct sales of their goods. Vendors could be identified for this research based on their own marketing and advertising as many made special note of biocultural materials through their focus on heritage breeds of livestock or vegetables, sustainable livelihoods and farm practices, innovative uses of local ingredients to create a new and unique product, or their processing of a locally common product to create an entirely new value added product for direct sales. Market scans were conducted making use of the market scan guide provided below in Figure 2.


Figure 2. Guide for conducting market scans

Preliminary Biocultural Product Scan Overview Source: _________ Date/Time of Day: ___/__ Name of data collector(s): ____________ Instructions 1.Internet Scan. Keyword search to identify small scale producers / processors and associated service providers (civil society organizations, government, businesses) 2.Do a pass through the market (Note: similar procedures can be used for fairs and specialty stores as appropriate) to do a preliminary characterisation [area and zones of the market, general ideas of the types of stalls – specialised areas for products (e.g. stalls dedicated to fruit, vegetables, cheese, botanicals, crafts (biological materials), etc.) Particularly those making use of biocultural diversity or heritage. 3.Do a new pass through, zone-by-zone, to document instances of biocultural diversity present in various market stalls, making specific note of those stalls that are selling some sort of processed goods alongside their food products. Note if a product is not common or if it has other important characteristics. These examples can be used as the basis for the lists of products in each category. Characterisation of the market (Product Category overview: e.g. dairy, fruits, vegetables, meats, wood, wool etc.) Categories of Products: 1)_________________________________________________________________ 2)_________________________________________________________________ 3)_________________________________________________________________ 4)________________________________________________________________ List of products: including only those vendors that make use of biocultural diversity (Note: Table template to be used to summarize information collected during scan) No. Name of Producer/Farm

Products produced

Reason for inclusion

Contact Details






Interviews with Knowledgeable People Through the initial web survey and market scans knowledgeable persons were identified as potential candidates for interviews to gather further understanding into small scale food systems in southeastern Manitoba. These knowledgeable people were identified as being people actively involved in some aspect of small scale food systems in the province. A total of nine interviews were conducted for this stage of investigation. These nine individuals provided valuable insights and expertise regarding small scale food systems in Manitoba, providing through their interviews a variety of perceptions, understandings and opinions on the state of small scale food in the province. Interviews were conducted using the interview script that has been attached to this report as Appendix 2. The nine individuals interviewed consented to the sharing of their identities so their names have been provided below, valuable information and thoughts were provided by each of these individuals and this research project has benefited from their involvement. Rob Moquin, Richard Bolton, Kenton Lobe, Jeff Eastman, Jayne Kjaldgaard, Phil Veldhuis, Martin Scanlon, Nicole Lamy, and Dave Shambrock. State of Small Scale Food Systems in Southeastern Manitoba

Following a brief overview of the interviewee’s experience in the small scale food sector the

questions began with an investigation to the general state of small scale food systems in the province. Question 3 regarding the growth of small scale production/processing in the province was answered by all nine knowledgeable people each of whom considered that there has been perceptual growth within this sector in recent years. Scanlon mentioned the “intense interest in food” that is arising within the province. Consumers have developed, or at the very least have increased their actions upon, a strong desire for local sustainable foods. Kjaldgaard agreed fully here, claiming that the number of new farmers markets that


are popping up across the province are strong indicators of the growing demand for local foods in Manitoba. There are significant market opportunities for local goods and producers/processors are responding to this demand with more numerous direct market and farm gate sales than ever before. Lobe talks about the increasing competition at restaurant back doors as local producers and processors are finding ways to market their products to restaurateurs, who in turn are more willing than ever to enter business with whoever can provide them with the best product with the best ‘story’. Consumers are interested in learning where their food comes from, how it is raised/made, and who has produced or processed their dinner. Veldhuis claims that consumers are looking for “consumption on a relationship basis, a lifestyle”. Consumers want to know not only what they are buying, but who is selling it to them, the discourse around food is changing in the province and this discussion no longer revolves simply around the lowest price. Producers/Processors most successful in small scale food systems

When asked about the type (horticulture, grains, meats, dairy, etc.) of producer or processor

that our interviewee’s felt was most active or successful in the market it is no surprise that a variety of responses were provided. Depending on the particular interests of each knowledgeable person it seemed that any and all types of producer/processor were suggested as being particularly successful, this report will identify some of the responses provided and the reasoning that was suggested for these responses. Scanlon claimed that the success of a processor or producer may not be held within one specific type, but rather relies solely upon the uniqueness or creativity of the product being provided. Flavors that are bold and original, perhaps even somewhat unorthodox, are those that Scanlon sees as having the greatest success, though he acknowledges that these types of products also have the possibility to fail miserably but it only takes one to succeed for a very profitable product to be developed. He used the beer flavored ice cream that has been developed by Dairy Fairy as one such unorthodox, yet surprisingly tasty and successful, product.


Shambrock and Kjaldgaard spoke of the resurgence and interest in condiment type products,

such as salad dressings, honey, or salsas that have become very successful and active across the province in small scale food systems and farmers markets. Shambrock goes on to also mention that these products seem to be most successful when they aren’t simply being sold in mason jars with homemade looking packaging and labels. The importance of the label really cannot be stressed enough. Consumers often purchase products based on appearance, particularly when prices are similar between competing products, “professional labelling can make all the difference, inkjet home printers just don’t cut it” (Shambrock).

Lobe claimed that small scale livestock or horticulture operations seem to be the very common

right now. Many producers are making use of heritage breeds or livestock to create an added value to their meat products, but the regulations involved with meat processing can create an added obstacle for these small scale operations. Yet, Kjaldgaard points out that for those processors/producers that can tackle these more in depth regulations they can provide a product with significant added value and can perhaps turn a larger profit for their efforts. Veldhuis, Lamy, and Moquin all suggested horticulture as being the most prominent in small scale food systems. Moquin claims that horticulture “tends to be the go-to” for small scale producers as they are “driven by ideas of health and wellbeing” leading them to concepts of urban agriculture and gardening. Lamy claimed that “growing our own food maintains a cultural heritage of living off the land” and also suggested that gardens have provided an opportunity for people to celebrate food and share fresh sustainable produce with those who perhaps can’t grow these things for themselves. Veldhuis claimed horticultures significance as being influenced by the generally fewer regulation involved in selling vegetable type products, as well as the relatively low expenses for these products. The producers costs are based on their own labor, but outside of these labor hours costs can be relatively low for vegetable producers.


Enabling Factors

From discussions on prominent types of producers the interview questions begin to investigate

the factors that are enabling small scale production or processing within the province. The responses in the section were again greatly varied but there were a number of general themes that were developed through the interviews. These themes are found in the table below along with some of the responses that were provided during the interviews regarding the topic. Table 3. Enabling Factors

Knowledge Sharing

Service Providers - Supports to the Sector

Shambrock – Knowledge sharing from company to company is essential. “Networks for small scale producers/processors to get to know one another and learn from each other” Lobe – “There is lots of grassroots local levels of farmer to farmer knowledge sharing and mentorship” “Strength of local connections amongst small scale farmers in Manitoba” Veldhuis – “Sharing networks are growing, but still understrength…. bring these people together towards a common goal and building relationships” Lobe – “There is lots of grassroots local levels of farmer to farmer knowledge sharing and mentorship” Bolton – “Government supports to these small networks can be great ways to approach providing aid to the small scale food sector” Kjaldgaard – “workshops helping processors get into farmers markets and then into grocery stores as well” “supporters are tripping over each other with workshops and expertise training”



Scanlon – “Cash flow is critical” Eastman – “Many agencies are providing support (speaking here about financing options and funding programs available) for small scale food in Manitoba these days, a major change from not so long ago” “Funding through Growing Forward II to be used for buying equipment, processing tools, or improved labelling” Bolton (on the potential found in social media marketing, a concept brought up by a number of our knowledgeable persons) – “Personalizing, telling the story of what you’re doing and what your product is. Connecting it to sustainability and health….develop a community and a culture around it”


Eastman – “direct thru marketing, making sure the identity of the product is preserved as it moves through some sort of distribution system” Lamy – “finding ways to market outside of traditional market and grocery systems”


Eastman – “small scale farms can make use on a nimble marketing strategy to directly respond to changing consumer and market demands” Bolton – “growing interest in mixed farming. Many small scale farms have a specialty but are also mixing their operation with added products” Kjaldgaard – identified the “entrepreneurial spirit” that is essential for small scale processors to make it in this industry. Small scale processors have to be able to do so many things in order to run their own business that they need to have a certain drive that isn’t inherent within every potential entrepreneur

Sharing Space

Kjaldgaard – (On Community Kitchens) “There is all of this infrastructure everywhere, it’s just a matter of putting some equipment into it. Why not exhaust all these kitchens before someone has to build their own? That’s the idea” Bolton – “mentorship and land leasing from mentorship farmers to help a new operation get established” Eastman – “More access to land here than in many other places. Small scale farming doesn’t have to take place on the most fertile productive land”

Hindering Factors From questions about enabling factors for small scale food systems in the province the discussion moves to those factors hindering small scale production and processing. During the interviews it became clear how passionate many of these interviewee’s are regarding small scale food systems in the province and they had many thoughts, opinions, and frustrations to share regarding the factors that they identified as hindering the small scale sector. Again, general themes were developed through the knowledgeable person interviews regarding hindering factors and many of the interviewee’s referred to the same or very similar factors. One of the most common frustrations that came up in every interview was some notion that the policy and regulatory framework for small scale food systems in Manitoba was subject to problems relating to scale. Small scale producers and


processors are subject to regulations that do not always fit the framework within which they are operating, and these same producers/processors have difficulty finding the place where their concerns and voices can be heard. Or when the dialogue is made available to these small scale operators they do not have the capacity in terms of funding, understanding, or free time to actually be present for the discussion at hand. Some of the comments relating to this theme as well as others relating to various frustrations and hindrances can be found below. Figure 4. Hindering Factors

Policy and Regulatory Framework


Service Providers - Supports to the Sector

Access to Facilities and Space


Shambrock – “Regulatory framework is very complex and confusing….regulation terminology is all written in legal language that just doesn’t fit into common every day language” Lobe – “Hindrance and a bias right now towards large scale, economic development, and the structural transformation of agriculture is an engine for that” Veldhuis – “Regulations are not thought to fit everyone. A regulation for Maple Leaf Pork doesn’t fit the guy with four hogs” Scanlon – “Inevitably it comes down to the small scale processor to lock down those supports for their cash needs….when you are a small scale processor cash is always hard to come by” Lobe – small business loans identified as one of the major obstacles to small scale start-ups Moquin – “Need a much greater shift away from enabling large scale production … move towards supporting individual farmers and a lot of those resources could be diverted to diversifying the food production landscape” Scanlon – “supports are available but I’m not sure how much these organizations can actually do within their own capacities” Shambrock – “access to proper manufacturing facilities. Knowing what can and can’t be done at a home based level. Knowing capacity” Lobe – “Access to land, buying space is just too expensive for small scale producers starting out” Shambrock – “very, very challenging business and industry to get into” Kjaldgaard – “Success often comes down to price point, and also to what other competition is out there” “If people do a year or two in farmers markets and they still want to do it, they have a shot”


Small Scale Food Systems Innovation Following discussions of enabling and hindering factors the interview questions are aimed at the interviewee’s understandings of innovations within the small scale food sector of Manitoba. The responses to these questions provided very interesting ways that small scale producers and processors in southeastern Manitoba are finding ways to increase the added value of their products, address challenges and difficulties that they may face, as well as various other ways to stay ahead of the curve in this competitive market. All nine knowledgeable people identified the significant role that innovation plays within small scale food systems. “If innovations of small scale producers stop being responsive to consumers, they won’t make it”, claimed Veldhuis. Lobe agrees, claiming, “I think small scale farmers who are successful are always innovating, they are always adapting. They are forever figuring out what’s working and what’s not on a daily basis”. The importance of innovation as a factor for small scale food production or processing success was established through all the conducted interviews, but again each interviewee was able to add their own insights as to particular innovations that they saw as especially important to the industry. Many different innovations were identified throughout the conducted interviews, these innovations will be identified in the table below with a few innovations receiving special attention and explanation following the table. One note about this table, many of the innovations listed below were not as easily captured with single quotes from the interviewee’s, as such the following table doesn’t have specific quotes, as in the first two tables, but the innovations are presented in such a way as to capture the general notion that the interviewee provided on the subject.

Creation of specialty unique products

Innovative marketing schemes

Scanlon - Unusual recipes or blends for innovative products (eg. Dairy fairy beer ice cream) Shambrock - Special packaging that can be used for purchase, heating, and serving the product Bolton - Ultra local honey, bee producers making use of urban spaces for bee hives. People are buying honey that was created with the pollen perhaps from the flowers in their own garden Veldhuis - Building consumer relationships with the product. Sales in a direct market setting allows producer/processor and consumer to build a


Repurposing equipment for new products or processing/production techniques

Support Systems

Sharing Space and Land

relationship. Plugged in to every sale, opportunities to see changing consumer demands. Eastman – Food Hubs. A system designed to maintain the identity of a product as it moves through distribution systems, allowing for a greater connection with the product and a price that reflects the value added nature of the goods. Lamy - Sea-can repurposed as a hydroponic greenhouse for remote northern communities Moquin - Use of low to the ground smaller greenhouses instead of larger ones where the traditional form of greenhouses just doesn’t make sense Shambrock - Creation of an interpretation resource for small scale producers and processors that can explain the confusing Manitoba regulatory framework. Providing a free executive summary for the regulations that you need to know when entering the small scale food sector. Lobe - Funding collaborators such as that through Tides Canada, bringing together of funders looking for ways to support local and small scale initiatives Kjaldgaard -Community Kitchens Lobe - Land use agreements between large and small scale, allowing small scale to use relatively low yield quarter section for affordable price

Community Kitchens

Presented by Kjaldgaard the Community Kitchen program in Manitoba is an innovation that is

significantly helping many small scale processors to access appropriate facilities to develop their products. “To me, innovations for a lot of these small scale ones is accessing larger equipment that can make their product quicker and safer, and actually the quality might also be better” (Kjaldgaard). Many small scale processors are producing their goods without access to commercial facilities and are doing the majority of their work in small, often inadequate, home kitchens. Through government programming, Kjaldgaard works to direct small scale processors to facilities that can best suit their processing needs. All community kitchens available for rent in the province can be found through the Manitoba Agriculture website ( Kitchens with space, equipment, and availability can provide small scale


processors with the tools to produce their goods for a fair rental rate. Kitchens are organized and added to the listing through government offices but the actual renting of the space is done through the kitchen manager’s themselves. This cooperation helps to solve some of the initial cash flow problems that are such a difficulty for small scale processors. Food Hubs

Eastman identified Food Hubs as an innovation that hasn’t yet fully come to fruition in

Manitoba’s small scale food systems, but as one that could provide an entirely new way for small scale producers and processors to market their goods. Food hubs act as aggregators bringing together a variety of producers/processors and marketing their goods to the consumers from a centralized source. This type of marketing removes some of the inherent competition from the small scale producers/processors themselves as they don’t have to compete at the back doors of grocery chains or restaurants and can bring all of their goods to one place. Through a food hub system Eastman identified what he calls “direct thru marketing”, an assurance that the identity of the product being sold is preserved as it moves through the distribution system. Food hubs are able to market the goods they receive from local producers to consumers, restaurants, and grocers with a story of where the food comes from and who has processed or produced the good. Innovative Enterprises The final question of the interview was simply to ask the interviewee if they could think of any small scale producers, processors, or innovative enterprises that could be valuable to this study. All interviewee’s had some thoughts on people or business’ to speak with whom they believed were doing something particularly innovative in their production, processing, or business model. Below is a list identifying some of the suggestions from our interviewees, just as a note we will not be identifying which interviewee made each of the suggestions. This is simply a listing of possible case studies that


arose directly out of the conducted interviews and final selection of cases would be further refined by considering those that meet our selection criteria identified earlier in the report. Potential Case Studies Zinn Farms – small scale producer also operating a wood fire pizza truck to present products in a unique and different way. Watersong Farms – fish farming in repurposed barns. Harborside Farms – small scale producer (heritage breed pork along with cattle and lamb) as well as meat processor. Faced regulation difficulties first hand and facilities were raided in August, 2013. Fort Whyte Farms – educational outreach program about food preparation and cooking. Tamarack Farms – Manitoba Quinoa producer Crampton’s Market – interesting look at small scale sector from the retail market side Wenkai Oriental Vegetables – Wenkai has a PhD in horticulture from China, interesting use of tunnel greenhouses for produce. Luna Field Farm (Lydia Carpenter)– holistic farm management practices, heritage breeds and polyculture mentality. Anderson Family Farm (Brad Anderson) – interesting blend of conventional large scale and small scale farming Small Farms Manitoba – example of emergence of an organization supporting specific actors within small scale food sector in Manitoba Cornell Crème (Lisa Dyck) – conventional farm with small scale identity regarding ice cream product


Farm Fresh Food Hub – a not for profit food cooperative Harvest Moon Society – a local food initiative making use of car-pooling for small scale producers and processors to get their products to consumers. Infra-ready Food Processing – interesting technique micronizing grains Tides Canada (Julie Price) – innovative funding initiative to support small scale sector in the province’s north called Northern Manitoba Food, Culture & Community Fund. David Neufeld – Real Manitoba food fight, discussion board for Manitoba small scale food Smak Dab – mustard processor making use of community kitchens Beeproject Apiaries – local honey producer making use of Winnipeg’s urban landscape

Summary Through this quick scan of both the web, famers’ markets and people knowledgeable about the small scale food sector it became apparent that while small it is a sector with a lot of activity. As an emergent sector it can be characterised as eclectic and dynamic with many enterprises having emerged in the last five to ten years. There appears to be food related enterprises that span product types from livestock through to speciality wild harvested foods with some enterprises focused on a diversity of products while others are more specialized. However, as some interviewees noted plant-based products tend to be more prevalent possibly due to less challenges related to food safety. The diversity of the sector is both what makes it interesting and also challenging to support since needs can be quite varied. This diversity was also reflected in the report of the working group on small scale food in Manitoba and their definition which focused more on the size of an operation rather than specific types of food products. Other efforts to create typologies of food enterprises focus on annual sales, like


Ontario who utilize stages of growth, namely: Microbusiness (< $25,000 / yr); Cottage (< $250,000 / yr); Emerging business (< $ 2 million / yr); Small to mid-sized manufacturing (< $10 million / yr); and, Large or multinational enterprise ( anything > $ 10 million / yr). Another approach is that of the Small Scale Food Processor Association which considers small scale to be any food enterprises with less than 25 full time equivalent employees. These other approaches reflected one interviewees concern that small scale is relative term and as those who may have annual sales of $ 1 million may consider themselves small scale compared to multinational corporations with whom they compete. While Manitoba’s definition is, perhaps, less defined it does capture both the diversity of the sector and emphasises attributes of smaller producers, such as direct marketing and use of farmer markets. It also focus on those who often identify their type of production, or processing as speciality, artisanal, or local. Recently, the emergence of Direct Farm Manitoba as a member cooperative of farmers markets and direct marketing producers suggests that more definition may result as such associations of, in this case, form of marketing emerge. What is significant is that Manitoba Agriculture has recognized, and begun to support, through dedicated staff and programmes, a distinct small scale food sector and an association has also emerged to provide a coordinated voice for some producers. Support from Manitoba Agriculture is a cross-cutting theme of many of the enabling factors noted by interviewees. This support has taken many forms and at times, such as the organizing of workshops, is organized directly by Manitoba Agriculture, while for other activities small scale food enterprises organize events that are supported financially by the government or other funders. Such events appear to be key opportunities for knowledge sharing amongst those involved in the sector and considered to be an important enabling factor. Other advantages related to the scale of enterprises focuses on the direct relationship producers and processors have with consumers allowing them to be responsive to niche demands of consumers and given their lack of sunk capital in specialized equipment


they are often able to adapt their equipment to such market demands. While not directly stated by any of the interviewees this could be seen to be one of the competitive advantages of small scale food enterprises. The versatility of small scale food enterprises and their close relationships with consumers also provides them with the possibility of “identity-preserved” marketing linked to specific attributes that consumers may value. Interviewees also mention that as the viability of small scale food enterprises are demonstrated by existing successes financing has become more available. Although at the same time this is still recognized as an on-going challenge. It also emerged from interviews that efforts to provide equipment through existing community kitchen infrastructure has allowed for some to develop products without the necessity of capital investment and in this way build cash flow and demonstrate the viability of the market for their products. This, in turn, has provided a means to secure financing as a means to expand the enterprise. An encouraging picture emerged from the interviews in that all those interviewed could point to some specific example of support for small scale food in Manitoba. While interviewees, in general, reflected an optimistic outlook for small scale food in Manitoba, as might be expected challenges remain. Although more financing is seen to be available than in the past this is still considered to be a major challenge and barrier to entry into the sector for both on-farm producers and processors. However, most interviewees concur that the biggest challenge is the policy and regulatory frameworks for food products and the need for specialized knowledge for their navigation. This in turn leads to challenges due to the equipment needed to meet the regulatory framework and the knowledge of what can be produced with different amounts of investment in equipment and facilities. Other interviewees noted that economies of scale are still a challenge and lead to product prices that are not competitive with those of larger producers and processors. Finally, in spite


of the recognition of a small scale food sector in Manitoba most investment is for innovation in policy, programmes and technology that tends to be focused on larger scale production and processing. Much of the innovation noted by interviewees was related to the challenges faced by small scale food enterprises. In summing up innovations that cross-cut the specific comments of interviewees a number of interesting ideas emerge. In considering the competitive advantage of small scale food enterprises it appears that some work has begun on “identity-preserved” marketing but that more could be done. Given that small scale producers and processors will not be able to take advantage of economies of scale “identity-preserved” may work on the added value consumers will attribute to specific products based upon the who, where, why, when and how of production and processing. Consumers may be willing to pay a price premium based upon the values reflected in the story of what it is they are buying. Obviously, the salient value is that of local production and processing of food products and is the identify most commonly found in current small scale food products. However, other values are beginning to emerge related heritage products and sustainable production. While this is more apparent amongst producers who directly market to consumers this could also be something that processors may consider in developing the stories of their products. They may want to be able to link their ingredients to the producers from whom they obtain them and the values they espouse. While “identity-preserved” marketing has focused on the price side of the ledger other innovations noted by interviewees relate to the cost side. One of the challenges of direct marketing by both producers and processors is the costs of distribution in both time and transportation. An innovation that seems more common in the United States, at this time, is the idea of food hubs who share similar value sets of small scale food producers / processors and can act as a type of product aggregator. This suggestion may cause some debate with the small scale sector as “middle-men” have always been identified as one of the problems as they are often perceived as capturing an inequitable


share of product value within a value-chain. However, given the concentration of consumers within urban areas, and the great distances from rural to urban, there is the possibility that an aggregator who brings together many products and then can deliver to restaurants and food stores may result in cost savings for the producers. Obviously, to be consistent with the values of the sector such an aggregator would need to adhere to values such as transparency and an equitable distribution of product value across the value chain, preserve-identity of products, and communicate the stories of the producers with whom they work. An example of such an aggregator is the Cloverbelt Local Food Cooperative ( in northwestern Ontario. As noted by the interviewee who suggested this type of innovation such an initiative should focus solely on the aggregation and distribution of products in order to be successful. Another promising innovation that has begun in Manitoba is the emergence of shared spaces with processing equipment as a means to lower entry costs for new food processing enterprises. This seems to be an innovation particularly relevant to food processing, or at least, in the results of the interviews. In Ontario this idea has borrowed fom the “makerspace movement” in creating spaces with equipment that can be utilized and for which instruction is available in its utilization. There has also been the emergence of commercially operated food incubators that provide kitchen / processing space along with, in some cases, business planning support (eg. / Food makerspaces focus on low entry costs that aim to inspire people to enter the sector whereas incubators tend to have higher entry costs with full processing facilities and business support. While the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has begun to provide some services similar to an incubator, and the Food Science Department at the University of Manitoba, has provided production services to some small scale food enterprises, a culture of food makerspaces has not yet emerged in Manitoba to the same extent in large urban centres like Toronto.


As might be indicated in our summary of innovations we suggest that an interesting case study would be the community kitchens that received funding to install new equipment and some of the food enterprises that have utilized these spaces. More generally, innovation related to the barrier of capital cost for equipment in the development of products for new entrants to the sector. The scope of this case study could include other shared spaces and services provided by the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute and the University of Manitoba. Another interesting case study could be related to “identitypreserved”marketing and those food enterprises that have begun to develop this approach in Manitoba. Finally, the idea of food aggregators is an interesting idea but as there does not seem to be an example in Manitoba case studies would have to be done on examples from other locations. It would also be interesting to hear from people involved in small scale food sector as to their perspectives on the acceptability of the idea of a food aggregator in Manitoba. Following the circulation of this report to project participants we will be holding a workshop to discuss the results with a focus on identifying innovation case studies.


Works Cited Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. (2017). MANITOBA AGRICULTURAL PROFILE, 2016 CENSUS. Retrieved from Manitoba agriculture website: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. (2017). MANITOBA FARM INCOME 2016. Retrieved from Manitoba agriculture website: Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. (2017). STATE OF AGRICULTURE IN MANITOBA – Highlights. Retrieved from Manitoba agriculture website: Statistics Canada. (2017). Manitoba: Friendly for young farm operators. Retrieved from Statistics Canada webpage:


Appendix 1 Name of Enterprise Phil’s Honey


Storsley Bison Ranch

Wildfire Farms


Reason for Inclusion

Contact Details


Honey, honey clover, buckwheat, and raw honeycomb. Also sells a variety of beeswax candles. Varieties of wild berries as dictated by the season (blueberries, saskatoons, and plums), as well as jams, sauces, spreads, and syrups using the various berries. Also had for sale drinks and salad dressings made from the wild harvested produce. Wide variety of bison meat products for sale. Stewing cuts, steaks, roasts, sausages, jerky, ground bison, and burger patties. Sell a wide variety of free range chicken, pork, and

Included for the use of honey, as well as the variety of ways that honey and wax were utilized in the products. Harvesting wild berry and fruit products for sale at local markets.

Phil Veldhuis (Starbuck, MB)

Lena Friesen (Headingley, MB) Found at St. Norbert Farmer’s Market

Bison products

Garnett Storsley (Beausejour, MB) (204) 77-BISON

Heritage pork breed, clearly and specially advertised at market.

Meaghan and Cory Lomax [email protected] Phone: 1-204-427-2650

Appeared to be more of a beef farm and the heritage pork may have been more of


Reger Honey Farm Seine River Shepherds

Zinn Farms

grassfed/finished beef products. The important factor here is the heritage pork breed that the farm advertises. They sell pork chops, bacon, roasts, hams, hocks, as well as crackles and lard. Candles, honey, and honey clover.

Sale of honey and candles produced from their own beeswax. Sell whole Included for lambs, leg the sale of both and rack of lamb products lamb, and the shoulder and secondary use loin chops, of the wool as and pure another lamb product to be sausage. sold. Also, in Alongside the their online various profile this meats at this farm highly stand there emphasizes were many their small woollen family sized products for operation as an sale as well integral part of (mitts, their business slippers, which helps coats/vests, them to fit into and hats). our research category. Variety of Included for the meat use of rabbit products meat which they (chicken, sell as whole

a side product, but they were very clear with their advertising of this specialty pork so may be an interesting farm to speak with.

Found at St. Norbert Farmer’s Market

Tele: (204) 422-8723

120 acre family run sheep farm outside St. Anne. Make very clear that they intend to maintain this small scale family run farm structure for their business.

Andreas Zinn: 204-471-3418

After some online research, all the pork this farm sells is a heritage breed

Monika Zinn: 204-782-0187


Giguere Honey Farm Canadian Birch Company

John Boy Farms Prairie Originals Tamarack Farms

Pondside Acres

Boundary Creek Farm Adiago

beef, rabbit, pork, and goat). Various cuts for each different meat product Clover and alfalfa honey, creamed and cinnamon honey. Sale of natural birch syrup. Various posted recipes and interesting ways to make use of birch syrup in the kitchen and every day cooking. Sale of heirloom garlic varieties and also apple syrup. Sale of many different varieties of wildflowers and grasses. Sale of quinoa varieties with unique texture and flavour. Heritage grasses and forbs Heritage poultry adhering to traditional values and practices Heirloom variety vegetables Heirloom,

rabbits for roasting. Heritage Pork

Email: [email protected]

(Berkshire) so this also fits into our criteria.

Various uses for honey and different honey based products for sale Innovative use of birch syrup as a more nutritional substitute to the popular cooking syrups.

Raymond Giguere [email protected]

Tele: (204)754-3548

Very innovative company but maybe not at a small scale level anymore.

Heirloom garlic and innovative apple syrup production.

Jean-Guy and Ainsley (St. Agathe, MB) Email: [email protected] Phone: (204) 882-2751

Sale of naturally occurring grasses and flowers on the Manitoban landscape Innovative introduction of quinoa crops to a Manitoban setting.

Shirley Froehlich (Selkirk, MB)

Heritage poultry breed

Web contact through Community Supported Agriculture Manitoba (CSAM)

Geoff/Theresa Dyck (204) 389 – 4146 [email protected] Amy/Donald Nikkel


[email protected]

Member of Food


Acres Food Ethos Farm

Breezy Bird Farms Heritage Harvest Seed

poly crop production of oats Heritage chicken/eggs, heirloom garlic, and poly crop strawberries Heritage chicken, duck, goose Specializing in rare/endange red heirloom vegetable, flower, and herb seed

Beneli Farms

Heirloom and specialty Ice Garlic

Wild Man Ricing Ltd

(204) 762 - 5892

and Beverage Manitoba

Heritage breed chicken and innovative farming practives

Curtis Brown, Ashley Cote (204) 793 – 3095 [email protected]

[email protected]

Focus on maintaining heritage and heirloom varieties of vegetables, flowers, and herbs in Manitoba. Innovative practices for garlic farming and specialty heirloom varieties. Our North Manitoba crop is harvested exclusively in natural bodies of water as opposed to being cultivated or paddy-grown, hence the name Canadian lake wild rice We are a small family owned and operated company that does everything from the harvesting to the marketing of our product. We strive to provide top quality wild rice to our

(204) 745 - 6489

(204) 771 – 8801 [email protected]

TONY ATKINS 3811 Birds Hill Road East St. Paul, Manitoba, Canada R2E 1C2 Ph: 1-204-794-7068 RICHARD ATKINS Box 1842 The Pas, Manitoba Canada R9A 1L6 Ph: 1-204-627-0218 Ph: 1-204-624-5054


Dairy Fairy

European cheese varieties, yogurt, and sour cream.

Food and Beverage Manitoba

Harvest Moon Society

Crampton’s Market

Northern Prairies Ag Innovation Alliance

customers from Northern Manitoba, to Winnipeg, and across Canada. Local milk purchased and processed into various cheese and yogurt varieties Food & Beverage Manitoba (form erly the Manitoba Food Processors Association) is an industry-led, not-for-profit association that launched in 1993 to help Manitoba’s food and beverage industry achieve its full creative and competitive potential. Educational organization researching permaculture initiatives. Aids small scale food producers marketing products. Store specifically targeting fresh and local Manitoba products. Large network of farmers and a CSA program. Non-profit organization commited to providing information for

[email protected] Telephone: 204 899 4385 Food & Beverage Manitoba 12 – 59 Scurfield Blvd. Winnipeg, Manitoba R3Y 1V2 (204) 982-6372

[email protected]

Email: [email protected] m

Could be a good source for making contact with a number of producer’s/process or’s

Phone: (204) 269-3355


PO Box 1091 Bismarck, ND 58502 Tel 701-355-4458


Prairie Fruit Growers Association

MAFRD Growing Opportuniti es (GO) Centres

producers on continuous, soil heath-building production systems. Promotes the adoption of agronomic practices that preserve and build crop soils while improving producer's efficiency and profitability. The Prairie Fruit Growers Association (PFGA) is a voluntary nonprofit organization representing all Manitoba fruit crop growers since 1974. MAFRD Growing Opportunities (GO) Centres are the front-line service delivery to valuable information and advice that support farmers, rural business and rural communities.

Fax 701-223-4645 [email protected]

Box 2430 Altona, MB R0G 0B0

Phone: (204) 324-5058 Fax: (204) 324-5058 Email: [email protected] Urban GO Centre 13-59 Scurfield Boulevard Winnipeg, Manitoba R3Y 1V2 204-945-4521

Growing Innovation – On Farm Program This program provides financial assistance for projects carried out on Manitoba farms and ranches that: accelerate the adoption of innovative new technologies and/or production practices in primary agriculture This program may be focused more on an industrial level of farming but perhaps the GO centres would have insight into some smaller scale production as well.


Fruit Share

Kalynn Spain

Opportunity for fruit produce sharing as volunteers harvest products that otherwise would go to waste (like the apples from a tree that the owner doesn’t have the time or energy to pick)

Jayne Kjaldgaard

Small Scale Food Phone: 204-461-2978 Group at Work Fax: 204-886-3657 in Manitoba Email: [email protected]

Jeff Eastman

Scale Food Group at Work in Manitoba

Phil Veldhuis

Teaches the occasional course in Philosophy at the UofM, president of the Manitoba Beekeepers Association and

Contact through Fruit Share website -us/contact-us/

[email protected]

Phone: (204) 945-0353

Office: 311 St. Paul's College Ph: 474-7935 EMail: [email protected] a

Founder/coordinat or of Small Farms Manitoba, “Make it, bake it, grow it” farm inspector for St. Norbert Farmers Market, Market coordinator for Wolseley Farmers Market. Manitoba Government Business development specialist-small food processing Manitoba Agriculture Agri-Industry Development and Advancement Division - Livestock Industry Branch Farm production extension specialist – small farm


Stefan EppKoop

Karen WalkerTibble

Kenton Lobe

Nicole Lamy

Daniel Gladu Kanu

a chair of the Manitoba Cooperative Honey Producers. On the board of directors for the St. Norbert Farmer’s Market. Acting executive director at Food Matters Manitoba. Traditional food research project Business development specialist, organizer for Direct Farm Marketing Conference

Phone: (204) 943 - 0822


Business Development Specialist/Direct Farm Marketing Manitoba Agriculture AgriFood and Technology Transfer Division - Food & AgriProduct Processing Branch

(204) 821-5322

CMU [email protected] Community 204-487-3300 ext. 321 Garden, involvement with Canadian Food Grains Bank, Metanoia Farmers Worker Cooperative, Sharing the Table Manitoba, Professor at CMU, NRI alumni Food Matters [email protected] Manitoba – a Northern Indigenous Program Partner Liaison Food Matters [email protected] Manitoba – Northern


Indigenous Program Director


Appendix 2 Opening Script and Questions Interviewer introduces self and reminds participant of the purpose and objective of the project and proceeds to walk interviewee through the informed consent. The interviewer will then bridge from the consent form into the questions. ***************************** Q1. So we have a better sense of who you are, can you tell us a bit about your profession and current position? Probe: How does you work relate to the small-scale food sector? Q2. Can you tell me a bit about your involvement with Manitoba’s [OR Name of Province] small-scale food sector? Probes: What role does your organization play in this sector? How does your organizational mandate and goals reflect your involvement in the sector? **************************** If interviewee would like to know how we define small-scale the following description can be given. As small-scale can mean many things we have adapted the description used by the Manitoba Small-scale Food working group. They consider that a small-scale producer / processor / service provider are those people/farmers/organizations/businesses involved in local, specialty, artisanal or direct marketing foods. These producers / processors often work with limited land base/capital/infrastructure, multiple types of crops and livestock, integrated farming, and products that are directly marketed or sold in farmers’ markets.


General information about current small-scale food production including producers and processors in [name of Province] We would now like to hear your thoughts on the small-scale food sector in [name of province]. Q3. Do you think that small-scale food production/processing is a sector that is growing in [name of province?] Follow-up: If so… Why do you think this?

If not… Why is this the case?

[Probe for relationship of this growth to consumer demand or increasing market opportunities] Q4. Is there a type(s) (e.g. dairy, grains, horticulture, meats, wild foods) of small-scale producer/processor that you consider more active or prominent than others? Follow-up: Has this changed over time? Q5. Is there a type (or types) of producer/processor that you consider more successful than others? Follow-up: Has this changed over time? Follow-up: What factors help to explain this level of success? Prompt: What are some conditions that help small-scale producers do well? Enabling environment in support of small-scale producers/processors We would like to talk to you about the factors that enable and hinder this sector. Q6. What do you think are the key enabling factors for a producer/processor to be successful in this sector? (Prompts: financing, extension, appropriate technologies, relevant research support, markets, policies, entrepreneurial skills) Q7. What do you think are the key hindering factors for a producer/processor to be successful in this sector?


(Prompts: financing, extension, appropriate technologies, relevant research support, markets, policies, entrepreneurial skills) Q8. Do you think the current support available to producers/processors in this sector is sufficient? Q9. Are there (small-scale) producer networks in place that provide support in response to any of the enabling or hindering factors you have mentioned? Follow-up: Could these networks be strengthened? If so, how? Innovative practices Finally, we would like you to consider innovation within the small-scale food sector? Q9. Can you think of some key challenges faced by small-scale food producers / processors and the innovations that they have utilized to overcome them? Q10. Can you think of other innovations by small-scale food producers / processors that you think are noteworthy? Q11. Has your organization been supporting innovation? Can you describe how you have been doing so? What challenges do you face in supporting innovation in this sector? Q12. Can you think of any out-of-the-box innovations that might strengthen the small-scale food sector? Q13. Can you think of any small-scale producers / processors, or others involved in this sector, who would be good candidates for us to speak to as part of this study? If so, why these people in particular? Prompt: We are interested in learning about innovation in small-scale food production. Thank you for your time.


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