Food Is­land

Fed­eral, pro­vin­cial money set to help Is­lan­ders come up with new food prod­ucts, find new mar­kets

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY NIGEL ARMSTRONG narm­strong@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/NigelPEI

New part­ner­ship to ce­ment P.E.I.’s rep­u­ta­tion as top pro­ducer of food.

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan told a group of dig­ni­taries what he had for din­ner Wed­nes­day, and why he gave some to fed­eral MP Gail Shea.

Both were on hand Thurs­day to an­nounce pro­vin­cial and fed­eral dol­lars for a food re­search and mar­ket­ing pro­gram called Canada’s Food Is­land.

MacLauch­lan’s story was an al­le­gory for that pro­gram.

He had for din­ner, he said, a pizza he made with top­pings of bar clams from An­nand Clams of Con­way, kale from the Char­lot­te­town Farm­ers’ Mar­ket and Jeff McCourt’s pizza gouda cheese from Glas­gow Glen, where Thurs­day’s news con­fer­ence was held.

“I met with Min­is­ter Shea this morn­ing and I brought her a cou­ple of slices of that pizza and hope that I might get a piece of pie back, in ex­change,” said MacLauch­lan.

That’s like the Food Is­land Part­ner­ship pro­gram.

High qual­ity prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, find­ing new mar­kets, get­ting prod­uct to the mar­ket and telling buy­ers about P.E.I.’s great food. To make it all hap­pen there is a new Food Is­land Part­ner­ship of­fice in Char­lot­te­town with a staff of four. A board of di­rec­tors com­posed of peo­ple in the food busi­ness guides the part­ner­ship.

The staff will help new food com­pany’s get es­tab­lished, help get fund­ing and re­search for new food prod­ucts, study and ex­plore ways to adapt to and take ad­van­tage of chang­ing global sup­ply chains, and build up the rep­u­ta­tion of the P.E.I. food brand.

It worked for Is­land beef as farm­ers and the beef plant worked to­gether un­der a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of the part­ner­ship.

“As a beef farmer I have seen how this has been an ad­van­tage for our Cer­ti­fied Is­land Beef brand,” says Jeremy Stead, vicechair­man of the P.E.I. Cat­tle Pro­duc­ers. “Food from Prince Ed­ward Is­land cer­tainly has mar­ket recog­ni­tion.”

The province will in­vest $1.1 mil­lion over three years, with some of that money com­ing from the Canada-P.E.I. Grow­ing For­ward 2 agree­ment. The At­lantic Canada Op­por­tu­ni­ties Agency will add close to $500,000 through its Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Fund.

The pri­vate sec­tor will also pay for their own par­tic­i­pa­tion in the part­ner­ship.

“Prince Ed­ward Is­land is a great place to start a com­pany,” said John Rowe, chair­man of the part­ner­ship and founder of Is­land Abbey Foods Ltd., cre­ator of Honibe dried honey prod­ucts.

“With the Bio-Food Tech­nol­ogy cen­tre and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen we have two world-class food prod­uct de­vel­op­ment cen­tres ready to help any com­pany in their pur­suit to ac­cess new cus­tomers,” said Rowe.

“As an en­tre­pre­neur, I owe much of my suc­cess to the ser­vices I have re­ceived from our PEI food de­vel­op­ment in­fra­struc­ture.”

NIGEL ARMSTRONG/THE GUARDIAN

John Rowe, chair of the new Food Is­land Part­ner­ship, speaks Thurs­day as master of cer­e­monies an­nounc­ing fed­eral and pro­vin­cial fund­ing for the pro­ject. The part­ner­ship be­tween gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor will cre­ate an of­fice to help in­di­vid­u­als or farm groups de­velop new food prod­ucts, start up food busi­nesses and mar­ket food prod­ucts.

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