B.C. seed producers may soon be able to access new seed processing equipment in up to a dozen BC Food Hub Network facilities.
This equipment will increase production of high-quality vegetable, grain and plant seed and support B.C.’s food system.
FarmFolk CityFolk will lead the ministry-funded BC Seed Hub feasibility study to determine the potential of adding in-hub infrastructure or mobile cleaning units at food hubs in different regions of the province.
“Many seed producers are smaller, family-run farms that cannot afford their own seed cleaning and packaging equipment, but by expanding the role of our food hubs to include those services, we can help solve that problem,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “We’re going to look at how we can increase seed production in different regions and work with B.C. farmers to support and expand seed-sector infrastructure, services and training in B.C.”
FarmFolk CityFolk will consult with different food hub operators to determine which facilities are most interested and appropriately located and sized to include seed processing equipment. Adding seed-specific equipment to the hubs would allow many farmers in multiple regions of the province to clean, treat, weigh, package and label their products at their convenience, year-round.
“Demand for our first mobile seed cleaner has exceeded all of our expectations with over 100,000 pounds of seeds from over 50 varieties being cleaned since early 2019,” said Anita Georgy, executive director, FarmFolk CityFolk. “This tells us farmers are ready and eager to add seed production to their crop plans. Being able to partner with the food hub network to increase access to seed cleaning equipment will directly increase B.C.'s seed and food security.”
The equipment will help small-scale seed growers prepare their products for sale and distribution while limiting their operating and investment costs, as well as creating the opportunity for them to participate in the networking and partnerships that food hubs foster.
"COVID-19 has shown us how fragile our seed supply chain is and highlighted the importance of a resilient local seed network,” said Saanich Organics' Theresa Heinekey. “All seed producers in our area have been struggling to increase our production in order to keep up with increased demand. Access to the mobile seed cleaner has made a huge difference in our ability to process seed efficiently and has increased the overall quality of the seed we sell.”
The BC Food Hub Network supports the establishment of a network of regional shared food processing and food hubs. The hubs increase value-added processing opportunities for producers and processors, and advance innovation in B.C.’s food and beverage processing sector.
- Three food hubs are operating in Vancouver, Surrey and Port Alberni.
- Hubs are under development in Quesnel, Salmon Arm, Creston, Rock Creek, Kamloops, Abbotsford-Mission, the Cowichan Valley, Bowser (near Parksville) and Victoria.
- FarmFolk CityFolk and the B.C. government partnered on a made-in-B.C. mobile seed-cleaning unit in 2019.
- The unit is based in the Fraser Valley but has been demonstrated in other communities throughout the province
- Through StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, $5.6 million has been earmarked for the expansion of the BC Food Hub Network.
FarmFolk CityFolk's mobile seed cleaner: http://www.bcseeds.org/category/mobile-seed-cleaner/
StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/