There will be more opportunities for farmers, and food and beverage producers and processors to grow their businesses while helping strengthen food security with the development of a new food hub in Summerland.
“Expanding the BC Food Hub Network to the south Okanagan will bring new opportunities to local farms and businesses that will help them increase their production, sales and market presence,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “Summerland is known for its amazing fruit, like cherries, strawberries and peaches, and the food hub will enable entrepreneurs in the area to use those locally grown ingredients to create products to share with British Columbians.”
In partnership with the District of Summerland and Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen, the Government of B.C. is investing $800,000 over two years in a new Okanagan Food and Innovation Hub (OFIH) in Summerland and growing the BC Food Hub Network to 13 facilities throughout the province. The hub will be located in the District of Summerland and will open in summer 2024.
“Farmers, producers and processors in Summerland share a passion for the agriculture and food industry and bringing the delicious flavours of the south Okanagan to happy eaters across the region and beyond,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. “The development of the Okanagan Food and Innovation Hub will provide a catalyst for development of innovative and new ideas by providing access to top-of-the-line equipment and a creative space to nurture the growth of local companies. This is the kind of project that helps build more resilience into rural community economies while strengthening food security for all British Columbians.”
Food hubs provide a commercial shared food-processing and innovation space that are helping increase the volume of food grown and processed locally, creating more demand for ingredients from local farmers and increasing the number of people employed locally by the food industry while addressing food safety and security issues.
“Like many other producers in the area, I believe this food hub facility will help increase the possibility of primary production and create opportunities for new added-value revenue streams for farmers in Summerland,” said Thomas Tumbach, owner, LocalMotive Organic Delivery and Low Waste Market. “At LocalMotive, we would be interested in the use of a value-added processing line for various products like preserved fruits, jams, syrups, salsas and pickled vegetables, which would primarily be made from ingredients from our farm and neighbouring farmers in the area.”
The BC Food Hub Network supports the Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC programs, which encourage greater food security and local business growth.
Charles Cornell, general manager, Community Futures –
“This has been a top-priority investment for Community Futures and our partners for several years, so we are thankful for the support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to bring a food hub to Summerland. Many government contracts, supermarket chains and export markets have strict standards for facilities that process food products and the OFIH will address this gap to entering the market, giving entrepreneurs a place to test, develop and fulfil orders until they are large enough to invest in their own facility.”
Doug Holmes, mayor, Summerland –
“A regional food hub is a natural fit for Summerland given our long history in agricultural research and innovation. It has been a strategic priority of successive councils as it will provide farmers in Summerland and throughout the Okanagan a tremendous resource to diversify their operations and identify new revenue streams. I am truly excited to see the Province provide this commitment and support the project. We will continue to work with our partners to seek additional grant funds to see the vision become a reality.”
- The B.C. government continues to partner with regional districts, municipalities, community organizations and post-secondary institutions to help develop food hubs in different regions of the province.
- The BC Food Hub Network is reducing barriers for small and medium businesses while helping them grow and enter new markets.
- The hubs increase value-added processing opportunities for producers and processors and advance innovation in B.C.’s food- and beverage-processing sector.
- Each food hub is unique to their community and region, providing a diverse array of products and offering the best processing equipment to fit the needs of the farmers, fishers and producers in the area.
- To date, the B.C. government has invested $13.6 million in the BC Food Hub network.
For more information about the BC Food Hub Network, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/foodhubsbc