We are celebrating a recent announcement from the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries! Kamloops Food Policy Council in partnership with the City of Kamloops was awarded $750,000 to provide shared infrastructure, processing equipment, mentorship and support for small to medium sized food entrepreneurs in Kamloops.
The Food Hub project grew out of a pilot project and feasibility study completed in Fall 2019, led by the Kamloops Food Policy Council, supported through the Province of British Columbia and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. Feedback from 91 food businesses suggested that many of the key challenges they faced could be addressed by the support and infrastructure available through a Food Hub.
Our aim is to create a transformative effect on our local food economy through enterprise development, food processing, distribution, aggregation and food recovery. We anticipate that an investment in shared infrastructure for food processing will create a positive feedback loop between food processing and producing in our region.
Food Hub facilities will be created through key partnerships in three locations in Kamloops, and one mobile food processing unit, that is being implemented with Community Futures Central Interior First Nations’ Kweseltken Project. The Kweseltken Project seeks to support Indigenous food security and food related economic development that contributes to cultural livelihood.
The Food Hub will empower food entrepreneurs to test their businesses at every stage through a subsidized mentorship program delivered in collaboration with Kamloops Innovation Center. To assist with scaling up, the Food Hub Coordinator will connect food entrepreneurs with local and larger distributors.
There is a lot of enthusiasm from the public, local food businesses and Food Hub partners. “The Food Hub helps to mitigate and ease the fear and risk associated with scaling a business.” – Kent Fawcett, Local Pulse. A highly equipped commercial kitchen rental facility will enable food entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses without making huge capital investments.
Opendoor Group Gardengate is currently building a new training centre and commercial kitchen facility to replace a 21 year old, 700ft space that hosts their widely known program. The Kamloops Food Policy Council is partnering with Gardengate by investing in necessary equipment and upgrades for the facility. The Gardengate facility will be the first commercial facility available for rental to the public.
“Partnering with the Food Hub provides social interaction and activation for current Gardengate clients. It provides the opportunity for those enrolled in the Gardengate program to learn and observe from food entrepreneurs.” – Rob Wright, Open Door Group, Gardengate. Through our partnerships, we hope to inspire the Kamloops community to establish local food businesses.
This accomplishment is thanks to the momentum of the Food Hub Working group and our numerous partners including representatives from the City of Kamloops, Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations, Open Door Group Gardengate, Kamloops Innovation, Local Pulse, Thompson Rivers University Culinary Arts and Kamloops Food Bank.
For inquiries, further details and updates about the Food Hub, please visit kamloopsfoodpolicycouncil.com/food-hub-project/
Food Hub Coordinator