Doing good work, with good people, doing good things

What We Do

We work with smart, hardworking micro and small farm and food businesses who value practical guidance to develop and grow their business. Our workshop programs are designed to address some of the key challenges and needs of these crucial players in the ag-food sector on their path to sustainable growth.

Our Workshop Program Benefits

  • Relevant and tailored content suited for small farm and food business needs
  • Practical knowledge and experience shared by a variety of sector experts
  • A collaborative platform for small businesses to establish business linkages
  • High level of participant engagement and ability to apply learning to their business plan
  • Completion of a business or project plan that prepares that particiapants for specialists
  • Built-in support system that includes periodic check-ins as well as one-on-one support

How We Do It

Our experience within the local food sector and connections we have established over the years is our key strength. We strive to deliver programs that get you what you need, at the stage you need it, and delivered in a way that is relatable, practical, and collaborative for small food business owners.

We believe in a hands-on or “learning by doing” approach. You have the opportunity to work on your business or project plans as you progress through the workshop program. 

We leverage our vast industry network by bringing in sector specific experts that are leaders in their field. These experts share practical experience and knowledge during workshop sessions, as well as help you with the implementation of your project or business plan.

With our extensive experience with small food businesses, we understand that your businesses have different needs and challenges depending on your planning stage. We consider these differences while developing and delivering our workshop programs. We will ask you specific questions about your business at the onboarding stage that help us identify your specific business needs and challenges. In addition to helping us, this process also helps you, as a business, assess your needs and invest your time and resources on business aspects that are most likely to have the greatest impact on business growth.

Our 360° approach to workshops is HOW we learn, collaborate, and transfer expertise between our teams. This circular approach to business planning involves a sequence of core activities, (i.e., research, planning, marketing) where our learning from (industry) market research project feeds our work with  our business planning team, which feeds our creative marketing team as they produce branding, labelling, and campaign projects. Our experience and learning from these three teams, flows in a 360° process and is shared between our small teams to form the foundation of our workshop teachings. 

We make full use of the learning outcomes from our research, planning, and creative marketing projects to deliver workshops that are highly collaborative, practical, and relevant to the needs of your small food business. 

Our Workshops

Level 1

Not sure where to start with your food business?

Our Level 1: Introduction to Food Business workshops is ideal for those who don't quite know where to start with their food business. 


Introduction to Food Business

Introduction to Food Business

This beginner’s level program is designed as an introduction to the agri-food sector and it familiarizes participants with the basics of food business planning as well as career paths in the sector. As an introductory program, it emphasizes on the following:

  • A basic overview of a small-scale food business start-up or starting a career in the agri-food sector
  • A self-assessment for those looking to start a career or business in this sector.
  • Developing an elevator pitch for potential investors (for aspiring entrepreneurs).
  • Business concept template, with an opportunity for participants to start on their business plan.
  • Overview of career paths in the ag-food sector with a focus on some essential skills.

Key Focus

  • Basics of business planning and marketing research
  • Develop the business concept draft
  • Develop an elevator pitch

Level 2

Starting or growing your food business?

Our Level 2 workshops are perfect for those who are starting or planning to grow their micro food business.


Ag-Food Entrepreneur & Supervisor Program
Food Business Planning
2-day Food Processor Business Planning Workshop

Ag-Food Entrepreneur & Supervisor Program

This program is for you if you have chosen the food sector as their career or entrepreneurial path. This includes food or farm business owners, managers, and supervisors who are committed to starting or have already started a business or career in the agri-food sector. Some key feature of this program include:

  • A comprehensive overview of business planning processes
  • Essential skills required for some key roles within the ag-food sector
  • Coaching support (as needed) that is customized to suit the needs of the individual participants
  • Completion of a viable business plan draft

Key Focus

  • Essential skills for agri-food sector
  • Business Planning overview
  • Business Plan Draft


Food Business Planning Workshop

Being re-launched fiscal 2023
We have developed and delivered this foundational workshop program for many years, and are currently updating it in response to the continued volatility from 2020.

This workshop is intended for busy and growing small food business owners or managers who struggle to find the time to plan. It is designed for those committed to completing a full draft of their plan, and progressing their plan on a weekly basis, with support. This program offers:

  • Full set of templates for easier follow-through
  • Mentoring from and networking with other local food system advocates
  • Support and collaboration from others who share similar challenges
  • One session per week where participants work on their plan and submit it with the expectation of completing a draft
  • Group and one-on-one coaching and support
  • Completion of a viable business plan draft?

Key Focus

  • Comprehensive business planning overview
  • Viable business plan draft
  • Group and/or one-on-one coaching support


2-day Food Processor Business Planning Workshop


This 2-day intensive program is for food and farm business owners and managers to develop a fulsome understanding of the different processes involved in setting up and running a small-scale food business. 

The program also has 2 virtual mentoring and networking sessions following the workshops. These sessions aim  to connect and mentor the participants, as well as serve to drill down on any topics and themes that participants believe would better support the implementation of their business plan. Participants can hope to gain the following benefits from this workshop program:

  • A comprehensive overview of business planning processes
  • Jumpstart their business plan and/or implementation of the plan
  • Group mentoring sessions focused on areas that support their end goal
  • Connect (and possibly collaborate) with other individuals in the region with similar plans

Click here for more information on this years 2-day workshops.

Level 3

Is it time to pivot or grow your food business?

Our Level 3 workshops are intended for those with established businesses who have significant opportunity or challenge.


Food Business Refresh
Food Business Marketing (Market Readiness)
Farm Business Refresh
Seafood Business Accelerator

Food Business Refresh

3-week workshops + business & technical coaching

This program is designed for existing micro and small-scale food businesses looking to grow their business or pivot based on changing market trends and shifts. This largely self-directed program is “lean” in the sense that it allows participants to prioritize the most lucrative business growth opportunity that needs to be pursued, and focus only on that single project. The overall objective of Refresh is to help farm and food businesses develop and implement a “Refresh Plan” or pivot plan, to mitigate the impact of market disruptions or to accelerate growth and seize opportunities stemming from market shifts. Some of the salient features of this program include:

  • A comprehensive overview of the market trends and opportunities
  • Coaching and support tailored to the participant and project needs
  • Completion and implementation of a Refresh project plan through coaching and support
  • Cohorts with similar needs providing opportunities for ideas exchange and collaborative planning
  • Additional technical support through industry specialists for project implementation

Key Focus

  • Market trends and opportunities
  • Implementation of the pivot plan
  • Access to technical expertise


Food Business Marketing Program

6 week workshops + one-on-one coaching sessions

The series is a set of workshops focused on the marketing and branding of small-scale farm and food businesses with the aim to equip them with the knowledge and tools needed to take the next step in growing their brand. 

The fundamental program in the “Grow Your Brand” series, this 3-session marketing program is designed specifically for owners of small food and beverage businesses with BIG dreams. Businesses that are ready to take the next step to elevate their brand and food product marketing. We provide guidance, expertise, and the tools/templates that you can use to not only prepare for the next stage of marketing but to help you decide what you can accomplish on your own and what you need professional help to implement.

This program offers the following benefits:

  • Understand the core needs and steps for an effective brand and marketing plan
  • Learn how to prioritize, plan, and cost out your marketing budget
  • Prioritize and drill down into the specific market and/or communication channels
  • Templates, how to guides, and checklists for every step of the process
  • Understand when to bring in outside experts and how to prepare for the specialists

Key Focus

  • Branding and Market Planning
  • Budgeting and Planning
  • Marketing Plan Implementation


Farm Business Refresh

6 workshop sessions + business & technical coaching sessions

“Farm Business Refresh” focuses exclusively on small farms located across Canada. Materials and topics of instruction are tailored according to the practical realities of small farm marketing and operations. The Refresh process, with its proven structure, would be maintained with a focus on assessment (establishing priorities), planning, and implementation with specialized support. Some of the distinct features of this program include:

  • A comprehensive overview of the market trends and opportunities
  • Coaching and support tailored to the participant and project needs
  • Completion and implementation of a Refresh project plan through coaching and support
  • Cohorts with similar needs providing opportunities for ideas exchange and collaborative planning
  • Additional technical support through industry specialists for project implementation

Key Focus

  • Market trends and opportunities
  • Implementation of the pivot plan
  • Access to technical expertise


Seafood Business Accelerator

An initiative by the Centre for Seafood Innovation (CSI) at Vancouver Island University (VIU), and supported by Farm Food Drink. The Seafood Business Accelerator aims to help seafood entrepreneurs innovate and capture more value for their harvests. The program focuses on the following aspects

  • Empower seafood entrepreneurs to take more control of and grow their business operations.
  • Food industry training, coaching, business advice, and implementation services related to a range of business areas.
  • Completion of a documented innovation plan and a product or marketing system prototype

Key Focus

  • Food industry training, coaching, business advice
  • Documented innovation plan, and a product prototype
  • Value-add for sea food entrepreneurs


Looking for workshops on specialized topics?

Our Specialization workshops are intended for those with established businesses looking for specialized workshops on specific topics.


Food Business Marketing Research
Food Business Packaging & Labelling
Food Business Digital Marketing
Lean Marketing Program

Food Business Marketing Research

2 workshop sessions 

This 2-session marketing research workshop is offered as part of the “Food Business Marketing” program as well as a stand-alone workshop for existing small-scale food businesses looking to rebrand, grow, and expand into new markets. The Food Business Marketing Research program focuses on developing marketing research skills in business owners and managers to enable them to independently conduct basic marketing research using some key tools and templates. Small-scale food businesses can expect to have to following benefits from this workshop program:

  • Develop a clear understanding of their marketing research needs
  • Overview of the marketing research process and using it for their own research purposes
  • Gathering and analyzing relevant secondary data for lucrative marketing outcomes
  • Discussions and exercises to facilitate learning of new concepts
  • Comprehensive and easy-to-use templates and online tools for marketing research

Key Focus

  • Determine market size
  • Target market segmentation
  • Competitive analysis


Food Business Packaging & Labelling

2 workshop sessions

This workshop program recognizes and highlights the importance of packaging and labelling in branding as well as the marketing mix. Another key component of the Food Business Marketing program that can be offered as a stand-alone workshop, the Food Business Packaging & Labelling workshop offers a comprehensive overview of the essential components of food and beverage packaging and labelling. Following are some key features of this program:

  • Deep understanding of all the key components of packaging and labeling for food and beverage products
  • Templates that capture all the key information required for effective packaging and labelling
  • Exercises to facilitate understanding and applying concepts
  • Workshop sessions facilitated by industry specialists with years of experience

Key Focus

  • Food packaging and labeling essentials
  • Effective package and label design
  • Labeling requirements and regulations


Food Business Digital Marketing

Digital marketing channels are some of most popular and fastest growing marketing channels, and offer opportunity for small-scale food businesses to grow. The 2-session workshop program covers the “what” and “how” of digital marketing for small-scale food businesses and offers the following benefits:

  • Clear understanding of a digital marketing strategy
  • An overview of the popular trends in digital marketing that help them become successful
  • Overview of different digital marketing channels and their target audiences
  • Introduction to different types of digital content and the intention/purpose of each type
  • Understanding the use of digital analytics tools to monitor and track digital marketing metrics

Key Focus

  • Digital marketing strategy development & implementation
  • Digital marketing channels
  • Digital marketing metrics


Lean Marketing Program

Lean Marketing allows businesses to test their marketing campaign(s) more quickly, with fewer resources, and learn from the results. This workshop program is designed for local food and beverage processors to enhance their competitiveness by streamlining and optimizing their marketing operations through the development of Lean processes. The Lean Marketing program is predominantly focused on the implementation of lean processes to the marketing operations. 

Following are the key features of this program:

  • Comprehensive overview of the lean concept and tools through virtual workshop sessions
  • Hands-on learning through discussions and exercises
  • Templates to help facilitate the implementation of a lean marketing plan
  • One-on-one coaching support and review sessions for the implementation of the lean marketing plan.

Key Focus

  • Lean Principles
  • Continuous process improvement through lean marketing tools
  • Focus on digital marketing metrics

Our Values In Program Delivery & Support

Farm Food Drink is proud to be a major contributor to the Women’s Enterprise Strategy, both at the National and Provincial levels.

Through the development of curriculum and materials, many or most of our workshops and programs have been influenced greatly by our objective to deliver training and planning support in keeping with the specific needs of women-led businesses. We recognize the fact that 60-65% of our client and workshop base are women-led food businesses. However, no matter the gender identity or cultural background of our clients or participants, our programs follow a process that best supports these leaders. We are proud that programs like Food Business Refresh, Lean Marketing, and Food Business planning support the development and planning needs these leaders are looking for. 

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