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NEWS RELEASE · 22nd February 2012
Community Futures
On Monday, March 5th at Northwest Community College, farmers, ranchers, chefs, caterers and food service managers will gather together to learn and discuss opportunities for the growing agri-food industry in the north at the Terrace Regional Food Systems Workshop.

The workshop is designed with business training and networking in mind, and will feature a Farmer-to- Chef Networking event that pairs local farm operators one-on-one with restaurant and purchasing representatives in a speed networking format. This type of speed networking has proven to be a very successful way of linking farmers with chefs in other communities across the country, including a recent event held this past October in Prince George.

According to the Beyond the Market coordinator, Jillian Merrick, “The appetite for a healthy local food system in the Terrace region is strong; however, there number of producers operating in the area is declining and there is distinct need for more farm operators.

To avoid losing the region’s agricultural capacity, we want to support new and existing farm business development and help make local farm operations economically sustainable. Bringing the community together under one roof will provide a real spark for innovation and forward momentum.”

Several food and agriculture industry experts from across the province will be presenting their experience.

Brent Warner, an international renowned direct-marketing guru, will present on producing and marketing food locally; Mark Robbins, a small farm operator and a Regional Agrologist with the Ministry of Agriculture, will provide insight into new farm start-up; and Elsie Friesen, a Food Safety & Quality Specialist, will discuss food production strategies to increase consumer confidence. Many of the region’s growers will also be on hand to provide their knowledge in a local producers’ discussion panel.

Jillian adds, “The opportunities for agriculture in the north are immense. Some of the products grown and raised here are of the highest quality, and our access to land and transportation networks provides the industry with a real competitive advantage. We also think that food services within the local region are a great place to start to grow the opportunities for local agriculture.”

The event is free for all and includes lunch. Those wishing to attend can register online at www.beyondthemarket.ca or contact Jillian at 1-800-661-2055 ext. 115.

Beyond the Market is hosting the Regional Food Systems Workshop as part of an ongoing effort to build, strengthen, and diversify the food and farm industries in BC’s Highway 16 region from Valemount to Terrace.

The workshop has been made possible by the financial support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of Canada under Growing Forward: a federal-provincial territorial initiative.