The BC Food Hub Network expanded to nine locations over the past week with the announcement of $2.75 million in funding for projects in the Kootenays, Kamloops and Mission.
Work to develop a food hub in Creston began in 2013, and the advocacy has finally paid off with a $500,000 grant that will cover food-processing equipment and startup costs in partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Fields Forward of Creston. The hub will provide shared food and beverage processing space for small-scale processors, adding value to local produce and expanding opportunities for local growers.
A new food hub in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary comes with spokes. The project will be headquartered in Rock Creek but have locations in both Rock Creek and Greenwood. Backed with up to $750,000 in provincial funding, it will have a broad impact.
Developed by the regional district in partnership with the Boundary Community Ventures Association, it will support ventures such as The Saffron Guild, a three-year-old business that produces artisanal hand-painted confections for Okanagan wineries. The business stalled last year as wine tourism declined, but the new production facility will allow it to take advantage of other opportunities.
The City of Kamloops and Kamloops Food Policy Council are also receiving up to $750,000 to purchase food-processing equipment and cover other start-up costs associated with a new food hub in that city.
The three new hubs bring to eight the number of locations within the BC Food Hub Network. The province has allocated $5.6 million through the BC Economic Recovery Plan for expanding the BC Food Hub Network, which currently has locations in Vancouver, Surrey and Port Alberni. Two more hubs, in Quesnel and Salmon Arm, will open later this year.
This morning, $750,000 was announced for a hub in Mission, the second location in the Fraser Valley.
A number of other communities have received provincial funding to study the feasibility of food hubs. The remaining $2.8 million allocated for development of the food hub network through the province’s recovery plan will go towards three hubs yet to be announced.