Food and beverage producers will soon have more opportunities to grow their businesses while increasing food security with the development of new food hubs across British Columbia.
The province is investing up to $5.6 million to expand the BC Food Hub Network to Victoria, Bowser, Cowichan Valley, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Creston and the Kootenay-Boundary region.
“B.C. food hubs create new opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses and strengthen food security, so British Columbians can rely on locally grown and processed food now and for generations to come,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Our BC Food Hub network is a wonderful example of innovation at a local level, creating jobs and supporting farming, skills training and community building in the regions they operate.”
The B.C. government is investing up to $500,000 to purchase food-processing equipment and cover other startup costs in partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Fields Forward, up to $750,000 for the City of Kamloops and the Kamloops Food Policy Council, and another $750,000 for the District of Mission and the Mission Community Skills Centre Society, and up to $750,000 for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary and the Boundary Community Ventures Association
The hubs will help small- and medium-scaled businesses access shared food and beverage processing space and equipment to increase their production and sales.
“The Fraser Valley is home to a rich agricultural history, thanks to the hardworking people that live here,” said Pam Alexis, MLA for Abbotsford-Mission. “As our agricultural community continues to grow, so do the ideas that people bring to the table to innovate our food. The new food hub will help support small business owners with the resources they need to build on their ideas leading to a stronger food supply for all British Columbians.”
“Farmers and food producers in and around Kamloops work together to provide food for families in our communities, contributing to a safe, reliable and delicious food supply for British Columbians,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “I’m excited to see that a new food hub is coming to Kamloops after so much work from the community to make this a reality. By creating space for food producers and processors to work together and expand on their existing skills, we’re strengthening food security for all British Columbians and ensuring the people of Kamloops can shop and eat local.”
“The continuous development of a value-added food supply in Creston will strengthen food diversity and the long-term agricultural health of our community through innovation and collaboration,” said Barb Wloka, owner and operator of Wloka Farms. “We’re excited to see the opportunities the new food hub will bring to the community and surrounding areas, and we know this will help more young farmers have a bright future.”
Source: BC Ministry of Agriculture
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