The province is committing up to $2 million to expand the BC Food Hub Network to Vancouver Island.
The network is designed bolster food security, while helping food and beverage producers grow their business by providing shared-use processing facilities, equipment, expertise and other resources.
The funding announced March 2 will be used for three new food hubs in Victoria, Cowichan Valley and Bowser.
“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,” Lana Popham, minister of agriculture, food and fisheries said. “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.”
Each of the new hubs will meet the individual needs of the local business and agricultural community. The new facilities in Cowichan Valley and Victoria will cater to farmers and processors wanting to create value-added products, while the Bowser hub will focus on seafood processing at Vancouver Island University’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station.
The station will use its research labs and experimental commercial kitchen facilities to link together the culinary, business, distribution and research expertise.
“We hope that the lasting benefit of the centre will be a track record of continuous innovation, technological and process development, answered research questions and a greatly expanded seafood sector that contributes to the food security of British Columbians and the general economy in BC,” Carl Butterworth, manager of the field station said.
The government has earmarked $5.6 million through the Province’s StrongerBC economic plan for the expansion of the BC Food Hub Network. Three food hubs are already operating in Vancouver, Surrey and Port Alberni, with additional hubs in Quesnel and Salmon Arm opening later this year.