The core purpose of Closing the Supply Gap is to bring about change that builds a strong, sustainable local food system—a values-based system for producing, organizing, distributing, and financing local food for local use. The initiative is overseen by a Leaders Group which includes local food proponents from across all food sectors: producers, institutional food buyers, food wholesalers and retailers, food educators, investors, policy makers, and researchers. CRFAIR is the backbone organisation that is bringing all these proponents together and providing both administrative and financial tools that support their work. The work of the Leaders Group is values-based with the aim of embedding principles of regional social, environmental, and economic resilience. The expected outcome is an ecologically robust place-based food system that benefits all participants in the local food economy and the community at large.
Demonstration Project 2019
This demonstration is an action component of making the shift toward a sustainable and diversified local food system, guided by our multi-sector Leaders Group.
Goal: To work with small to medium scale local growers to increase their capacity and diversify their markets and relationships with retail and institutional buyers. Aggregation is a key factor.
Desired Outcome: This project is a demonstration of the factors and steps needed to develop the key relationships, capacities, certifications, and soft and hard infrastructure needed to scale production from farm gate to retail and institutional markets.
a) Produce readiness for rolling out local food to full market diversification in the Capital Region, and
b) Provide information to other regions that are building local food systems.
The project includes increasing small to medium scale farm capacity and retail and institutional purchasing capacity. Demonstration farmers will grow fall shoulder season crops for Thrifty Foods. To date we have ten farms in the Capital Region participating in the Demonstration project.
Key Demonstration Activities:
o develop a shared risk scenario that supports farmers and a designated retail chain to build a contractual relationship and identify incremental crops
Update: Two meetings have been held in March 2019 with the Demonstration farmers and Thrifty Foods to discuss crop planning and contracts.
o assess and address farm readiness having to do with on-farm infrastructure, food safe and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification;
Update: A two day CanadaGap workshop was offered on March 12 and 13 (2019) to Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands farmers. Demonstration Farmers were among the 21 participants. Research is currently being compiled on financing and grants available for infrastructure and audit requirements.
o undertake joint business planning to ensure financial viability, maximize efficiency and aid in coordination of supply
o provide on farm-site mentorship visits to address both technical as well as business management challenges
o assess risks and address them using best mitigation and adaptation practices;
Update: Research on Ministry of Agriculture’s Agri-stability Program is underway.
o develop and adapt distribution management, including inventory control, ordering processes, aggregation, quality control; and
Update: Leader’s Group will begin looking at aggregation and distribution possibilities in their April 4 2019 meeting.