Cowichan Farm Incubator

Cowichan Green Energy Society

Sources of Funding
ICET:$10,000
BC Job Creation Partnership:$69,901
Real Estate Foundation:$20,000
Community/Local Government Funding :$5,000
In Kind Contribution:$8,500
Total Budget: $113,401

The Cowichan Valley is a renowned food producing area. There are several challenges facing the agriculture sector including loss of agricultural knowledge and aging farmers. Historically, children of farmers were the ones to take over the operation, but in recent years, those children are choosing different careers away from the family farm.  Recruiting new farmers is a challenge as they face barriers related to cost of land, lack of knowledge and farm business development support.

Spearheaded by the Cowichan Green Community Society, the Seed Incubator Farm project will support the development of new farmers through a seed producing social enterprise.  This enterprise will serve as a training ground to transfer technical knowledge as well as help develop other aspects of farm business such as marketing and sales. The Incubator Seed farm will develop new “seed farmers”, but the experience growing a wide range of crops needed for seed production will also prepare these participants for other farm business opportunities. The project will also enable participants to incubate their farm business concept, with access to land, equipment and startup resources to eventually launch their own farm business. Participants will be cycled through the program, with the expectation that they will have the required skills to launch their own farm business on completion. 

This project is currently underway, and the newly created seed producing social enterprise has already won acclaim from the Social Enterprise Community, winning one of three prizes at the 2016 Social Enterprise Gala.  The first cohort of participants is expected to “graduate” in early 2017.

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)
50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together
$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated
2,600
post completion jobs created
$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested
$230
million leveraged into the region
$49.1
million disbursed
$50.9
million committed
185
economic development projects
150
projects completed
36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities
50+
communities with ICET projects

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