An alliance of local organizations including the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) wants to bring a food processing hub to the region.
The effort responds to plans by the provincial ministry of agriculture. It plans to build a network of communities that aims to “enhance sustainable growth and innovation in the processing, packaging and marketing” of provincial food and beverage for domestic and international markets.
The network itself would consist of hubs that link food producers and processors with technology, research and development, production equipment, expertise and services.
“By creating a dedicated food hub space in regions throughout the province, the sector will be able to continue their growth and increase the value of B.C. processed products,” said local MLA Lana Popham, who is also minister of agriculture in a release.
Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable, Victoria Foundation and others in the Food Share Network are among the partners working with SIPP in asking for up to $50,000 in provincial funding towards a regional feasibility study. Overall, five applicants will receive that level of funding.
SIPP is currently asking local governments to endorse its application.
During the first round of feasibility studies, the provincial government handed out more than $176,000 towards various groups for feasibility studies. Five communities have studies completed or underway.
Commissary Connect, a shared-use processing facility in Vancouver, received $250,000 per year over three years from the provincial government to be the pilot and demonstration site for the network.
SIPP is an economic development group with 40 or so members, including local governments, First Nations, post-secondary institutions industries and employers.