Revitalizing B.C. communities with regional food hubs
Expanding the B.C. Food Hub Network could help six B.C. communities diversify their economies by providing local food producers and processors access to the expertise and equipment needed to grow their business at a regional food hub.
The goal of food hubs is to connect B.C.’s agriculture food producers and processors with shared technology, research and development, specialized equipment, expertise and services in a dynamic environment that benefits the local community.
“People are looking for new economic opportunities and the B.C. Food Hub Network sets the table for those communities looking to host regionally scaled and interconnected food hubs,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “The food hubs will make sure people and communities are benefiting from B.C.’s strong economic growth, while creating more demand for local food, helping farmers farm and keeping B.C.’s farmland in production.”
Feasibility studies and business plans are being developed in the following communities to determine their potential and capacity to offer a food processing centre for their region:
- Kamloops Food Policy Council, Kamloops
- Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable, Victoria
- Upper Skeena Development Centre Society, Hazelton
- Vancouver Island University, Deep Bay/Nanaimo
- North Island College, Courtenay
- Good to Grow Natural Products Coaching (partnering with the British Columbia Institute of Technology), North Vancouver
The studies are the next step in advancing the B.C. Food Hub Network. They will enhance sustainable growth and innovation in the processing, packaging and marketing of B.C. food and beverage products, and showcase them to British Columbians and international markets.
“The vision for the B.C. Food Hub Network is to provide resources to help food and beverage processors throughout B.C. innovate and commercialize new products to bring to market,” said James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food Processors Association. “I think the communities selected will be able to make these important resources more accessible to the businesses that will benefit most from them.”
The B.C. Food Hub Network is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Feed BC mandate, which commits to encouraging more food and beverage processing in British Columbia. This will support local economies, job creation and farming families throughout the province.
- The six projects are sharing $275,375 to develop their feasibility studies and business plans.
- The studies will help identify industry need and demand across the sub-sectors, assess market opportunities and recommend sustainable business models to ensure the hubs provide return on investment back to the communities and support economic diversification.
- The successful proponents were identified following an open request for proposals process through BC Bid.
- In March 2019, the Province provided Commissary Connect, a shared-use processing facility in Vancouver, with $750,000 over three years to be the pilot and demonstration site for the B.C. Food Hub Network.
June 2019 news release, announcing first round of feasibility and business plans for regional food hubs in Quesnel/North Cariboo, Deep Bay/Central Vancouver Island, Salmon Arm/North Okanagan and the Columbia Basin region: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019AGRI0047-001142
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