A new industry led, government supported partnership will engage primary industries, food producers, culinary experts and research institutions to expand food exports, create new products and cement Prince Edward Island’s reputation as a world class producer of food and leading culinary destination.
The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (ACOA) and the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island, announced government support today for the Food Island Partnership.
“Our Government is pleased to support the Food Island Partnership as they work towards making Prince Edward Island one of the world’s premier culinary destinations,” said Minister Shea. “The Food Island Partnership will work closely with small- and medium-sized businesses to add value to the Island’s food products, integrating all stages of production from the farm to the table.”
“Prince Edward Island’s harvests are integral to our economy and our province’s cultural fabric,” said Premier MacLauchlan. “The Food Island Partnership will build on our successes and, by working together with industry and community partners, establish our province as Canada’s Food Island.”
Prince Edward Island has a food brand that is well recognized and growing. The Food Island Partnership will leverage this brand recognition to the benefit of the food industry of PEI. The Partnership will also work to encourage more entrepreneurs to enter the food business and more existing companies to diversify their product range with assistance from research and development institutions like BioFoodTech and Canada’s Smartest Kitchen.
The Food Island Partnership will be led by industry and supported by the provincial and federal governments beginning this year. Over the next three years governments will provide over $1.6 million to support the partnership’s annual cost. Approximately $900,000 will come from the Canada-PEI Growing Forward 2 Agreement. The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing $487,950, with the remainder coming from the Government of Prince Edward Island.
John Rowe, chair of the Food Island Partnership, said “I am truly excited to be involved with this organization. The organization is a truly collaborative initiative between the private sector and government. We believe that the Prince Edward Island Food Industry is an industry of the future. We face challenges but there are also great new opportunities. This partnership model will be key for the food industry to grow and attract new investment. Together with our partners, we will work to create a climate that allows entrepreneurs to start new food companies, our companies to develop new products and our products to find new markets. Branding Prince Edward Island as Canada’s Food Island will help us do that”
Ten per cent of the province’s GDP comes from food processing and primary agriculture. In 2014, the Island exported a billion dollars worth of products internationally and 40 per cent were food products, the most ever.
The Food Island Partnership merges the former PEI Culinary Alliance and PEI Agri-Alliance. The key function of the new organization will be to work collaboratively with Government to implement a Food Strategy.
The vision is to establish Prince Edward Island as an internationally recognized place of origin for premium food products and a destination for culinary excellence. The Food Island Partnership will achieve this vision by focusing on three areas: company and product development, creating new value-added food products, and leveraging and building the reputation of the Prince Edward Island food brand.
The Food Island Partnership will work closely with industry, research and government partners to coordinate and monitor progress and promote the success of the Food Strategy. The success of the Food Island Partnership will be measured by the value of the food economy on Prince Edward Island: employment and engagement in the sector, export sales of food products, economic impact of the sector and profitability and diversity of participating companies and individuals.
Food Island Partnership Board members:
John Rowe (chair), co-founder and CEO of Island Abbey Foods Ltd.
Jim Bradley, CEO of Amalgamated Dairies Limited Greg Donald, general manager of PEI Potato Board
Rory Francis, executive director of PEI BioAlliance
Linda Duncan, executive director of Mussel Industry Council
Andrew Robinson, former vice-chair of PEI AgriAlliance
John-Anthony Langdale, owner Rustico Resort
Austin Clement, program manager of Culinary and Hospitality programs at The Culinary Institute of Canada