In March 2021, the Provincial government provided $2M to support three new food hubs on Vancouver Island (Victoria, Cowichan Valley and Bowser).
Small scale farmers and food processors often do not have the financial means and equipment to set up individual commercial kitchens or to purchase specialty equipment to develop new food processing products. In the Cowichan Region, a number of feasibility studies have been carried out over the years related to food processing. This includes the 2017 ICET-supported “Creating Climate Change Resilience: Enhancing Food Processing in the CVRDP” and a more recent report in 2020. Both studies outline the need to increase access to certified kitchen facilities, as well as cold and dry storage for food processors.
The newly built facility will target small scale farmers, food processors and other organizations requiring access to a certified commercial kitchen to help scale their products for market. Funding will be used for construction of the commercial kitchen, development of cold and dry storage facilities, as well as acquisition of the required specialty food processing. The facility will also serve as a vital public space, providing community workshops, training and other supports.