Project Title:

Cultivating Entrepreneurs at the Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab

Project Organization:

One Straw Society

Project Investment:

  • Island Coastal Economic Trust: $50,000
  • Total Budget: $149,400

Project Highlight:

The Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab is a commercial mobile kitchen at One Tiny Farm in Roberts Creek that strives to empower the local food economy across the region.

One Straw Society aims to boost regional food security through its Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab. The commercial kitchen, located at One Tiny Farm in Roberts Creek, will drive economic development across the Sunshine Coast by fostering the growth of local businesses, increasing farm sales, and enhancing food production.

Strengthening Community Wellbeing

Island Coastal Economic Trust evaluates each project for its contributions across four bottom lines that contribute to wellbeing: Economic Prosperity, Social Empowerment, Environmental Sustainability, and Cultural Vitality. The Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab targets all four measures through targeted initiatives with local food start-ups, entrepreneurs, farmers, and the tourism industry.

Economic Prosperity: This project directly addresses many of the challenges faced by local food producers and food-related businesses, providing them with the infrastructure and resources needed to grow their businesses. It will contribute to growing the local food economy, create new employment opportunities, and facilitate new business start-ups. It also provides a pathway for many small food entrepreneurs to move beyond a farmers-market driven retail experience to a broader commercial model.

Social Empowerment: Many food producers make and test products through farmers markets. These jams, pickles, wraps, dehydrated foods, freeze dried foods, and baked goods, among other products, are often high quality and excellent. Unfortunately, the producers struggle to meet Vancouver Coastal Health licensed kitchen requirements. This initiative empowers local food producers with the tools required to succeed.

Environmental Sustainability: Food waste is a major issue across the Sunshine Coast, particularly through privately owned fruit trees. It’s estimated thousands of pounds of apples, plums, pears, figs, and cherries are simply not picked each year. This initiative provides a pathway for local growers to bring that fruit to market, rather than be left to rot on trees.

Cultural Vitality: Beyond the commercial aspects of the kitchen, the space will also facilitate educational opportunities ranging from indigenous food preservation lessons to seed-saving initiatives. The food hub will also bring farmers and the public together to experiment, learn, taste, and share through collaborative opportunities.

What Leaders are Saying:

“This kitchen will be the heartbeat of many collaborative projects, providing a space to pull together other initiatives, such as fruit tree picking, food waste projects, mentorships and workshops, and our Tool Library. Collectively, these are empowering a resilient local food system, which is fueled by dynamic, well supported and viable food businesses.” – Casandra Fletcher, Executive Director, One Straw Society

“The Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab is not just a mobile kitchen; it’s a dynamic new opportunity for local food-businesses along the Sunshine Coast. This project marks a movement towards a more sustainable, vibrant food system, and a secure food future.”– Nicholas Simons, MLA, Powell River.

“Food security and agrifood is an important focus of our Capital and Innovation program. We’ve invested in food hub initiatives across our region, and we are excited to invest in the Sunshine Coast Food Hub Maker Lab. This initiative will offer local food entrepreneurs the opportunity to grow their business, while also positively impacting the tourism sector, and promote education.” – Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust