British Columbia's food and beverage processors can build their businesses through the first regional food hub.
The food hub is located at Commissary Connect’s Laurel Street location, a shared-use processing facility of the B.C. Food Hub Network.
“The technology and innovation behind Commissary Connect and B.C.’s Food Hub Network is opening doors for our agricultural industry and British Columbian food and beverage processors,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Creating a space for the agriculture and food-processing community to develop their food and beverage offerings locally will increase the value of their products and provide more opportunities for British Columbians to get involved in this innovative sector.”
To announce the grand opening of the hub, Popham was joined by Sarb Mund, CEO and founder of Commissary Connect and Ned Bell, executive chef at Ocean Wise, as well as local entrepreneurs, farmers and processors at Commissary Connect's Laurel Street facility. This location will be the regional pilot and demonstration site for the B.C. Food Hub Network.
The facility provides 24/7 access to shared processing facilities and equipment, including commercial kitchen space with patent-pending technology. On-site infrastructure for business advisory and product development services for participating food and beverage processors is being developed.
The successes and lessons learned from this pilot and demonstration hub, and the technology developed on-site, will help build and connect future regional food hubs in other communities that will create the B.C. Food Hub Network.
The Laurel Street facility has just opened its doors to food processors. These processors are contributing to the supply of B.C.-processed and value-added foods and beverages and are keeping their production processes local.
The site supports both new and current Commissary Connect clients ready to grow their businesses. B.C.’s own Georels (fresh local bone broth specialists) is moving to the Laurel Street facility from another Commissary Connect kitchen in March. The move will enable Georels to take advantage of the facility’s ability to support Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) certification and scaled-up capacity to supply large-scale grocery chains. Juli Rogerson and Matt Thomas, Georels owners, make two different kinds of bone broth, grass-fed beef bone broth and free-run chicken bone broth, using bones from local farmers. From start to finish, the product is 100% local, adding value and contributing to the local economy.
The ministry is providing Commissary Connect with $250,000 of funding per year over three years to be the pilot and demonstration regional food hub. Creation of the B.C. Food Hub Network is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Feed BC mandate pillar.
Feed BC is a key priority for the ministry, which is committed to encouraging more food and beverage processing in the B.C., which supports local economies, job creation and farming families in all regions. The province’s food and beverage processors produce approximately $9 billion worth of value-added products a year, representing 70% of total agrifood revenues.
Sarb Mund, CEO and founder, Commissary Connect –
“Commissary Connect is proud to partner with the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture in creating this first regional food hub for B.C.'s Food Hub Network. Having helped hundreds of local food businesses generate over $40 million regional GDP in the past five years, Commissary Connect is delighted to open the next level in shared-use food processing. Further, the methodologies developed and piloted through this site will be incorporated throughout the B.C. Food Hub Network’s regional nodes. This proven model is unlike anything else in the world and truly puts B.C. at the forefront of the local food movement.”
Juli Rogerson, owner, Georels –
“When we first joined Commissary Connect in 2015, we did not know where our dream was going to take us. We had an idea, but we needed help to execute our vision into reality. Sarb and Commissary Connect are the key part of how we were able to scale our business from an idea, to farmers markets, to finding our star product, bone broth, which is now in over 95 local retailers here in British Columbia. Without the practical advice, increased cookline capacity specifically for us, and the industry connections at Commissary Connect, I know we would not have the success we have achieved so quickly. This new HACCP-ready facility lets us grow further, bringing our local B.C. product to more B.C. family tables.”
Ned Bell, executive chef, Ocean Wise –
“As a chef and father, the inspiration for the dishes I create comes from my passion for locally grown, raised, harvested and produced food and seafood. British Columbia’s agricultural and food- and beverage-processing industries provide the restaurant industry with many unique and amazing B.C products that come from facilities like Commissary Connect.”
Find out more about Commissary Connect: https://commissaryconnect.com/
For more on Buy BC: https://buybc.gov.bc.ca/
Check out Georels Bone Broth: https://www.georels.com/