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More economic opportunities coming to the Cariboo

More economic opportunities coming to the Cariboo

July 31, 2019 at 11:34 am  BC, News, Politics

A new regional food hub based in Quesnel will help people in B.C.’s agriculture and processing sectors, and those wanting to join them, develop innovative products, grow their businesses and create jobs.

Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, was joined by Bob Simpson, mayor of Quesnel, to announce the Province’s commitment of up to $500,000 for the city to develop a regional food hub, which will help the local economy recover and diversify following devastating wildfires, timber loss and mill closures.

“Partnering with the City of Quesnel to bring the second facility in the B.C. Food Hub Network to the Cariboo will help strengthen food security, create good jobs and increase diversity and resiliency in the local economy,” Popham said. “We are committed to supporting British Columbians in the region and helping transition the economy by reinvigorating the agricultural and food and beverage processing sectors.”

A food hub is a centralized shared-use food and beverage processing facility that provides business owners with affordable access to production facilities, specialized equipment, new technology, research and development, expertise and services. The Cariboo regional food hub will help new processors get started and existing food processors expand their product lines and develop new markets. The hub will also bring more opportunities for farmers, ranchers and wild harvesters to increase revenue by adding value to their products.

“This new food hub will benefit not only our local business owners and residents, but it will also draw companies and residents from around the region,” Simpson said. “We appreciate the Province’s continued support for our economic transition strategy and their recognition of the important role that agriculture plays in that strategy.”

In February 2019, the first regional food hub officially opened in Vancouver at Commissary Connect’s Laurel Street location, the pilot and demonstration hub for the network. The second food hub in Quesnel brings opportunities to grow and diversify the region’s economy and provide skills training and development for people affected by recent challenges in the community. The new facility will also help build and connect future regional food hubs in other communities to create the B.C. Food Hub Network.

“I was very pleased to hear that Quesnel was going to be home to the second B.C. food hub,” said Florian Bergoin, owner and operator of La Belle Vallee Fromagerie. “This will give local processors and prospective businesses opportunities to grow, innovate and work together to build a strong agricultural and food economy in the Cariboo, hence making the region more diversified, dynamic and resilient.”

The food hub is part of the Province’s Feed BC program, which aims to increase the use of local food in all aspects of the food supply chain: farmers and food producers, processors, distributors and public facilities where food is prepared and served. Feed BC is a key priority for the Ministry of Agriculture, which is committed to encouraging more food and beverage processing in B.C., which helps expand local economies, create jobs and support farming families throughout the province.

Quick Facts:

  • Commissary Connect provides both new and current food and beverage processors with 24/7 access to shared facilities and equipment including commercial kitchen space with new technology. The hub is also developing on-site infrastructure for business advisory and product development services.
  • B.C.’s food and beverage processors produce approximately $10 billion worth of value-added products each year.
  • On July 30, 2019, the ministry announced $275,375 for food hub feasibility studies and business plans in six B.C. communities.
  • Feed BC aims to help food processors expand in both rural and urban communities, which also provides additional business opportunities for area farmers who grow and produce their ingredients.

Learn More:

Feasibility studies and business plans for future food hub sites: https://news.gov.bc.ca/20333 

Commissary Connect: https://commissaryconnect.com/

For more on Buy BC: https://buybc.gov.bc.ca/

La Belle Vallee Fromagerie: https://www.labellevallee.ca/

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