The City of Quesnel is moving forward with the recently announced regional food hub. The Ministry of Agriculture is contributing up to $500,000 towards the development of the Regional Food Hub, which is one of several Food Hubs recently funded by the Ministry in support of the creation of a BC Food Hub Network.
Amy Quarry and Diandra Oliver of Small Town Love Media Inc. have been hired as project managers to get the Food Hub up and running. The project has been named Sprout Kitchen Regional Food Hub and Business Incubator.
“This is an exciting new initiative that supports our economic diversification strategy,” said Mayor Bob Simpson. “The City appreciates the leadership the Minister of Agriculture and her staff have shown in initiating fast-tracking this project.”
“From the first regional food innovation hub that opened in Vancouver, to the hubs that will open in Quesnel, Port Alberni and Surrey, our government is creating new economic opportunities for communities,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are helping small business owners grow by connecting people to resources and infrastructure that will help them succeed. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far and I’m excited to watch this network expand and continue to support B.C.’s food processors throughout the province.”
Quarry is known as the founder of the Quesnel-based local food systems initiative, Long Table Grocery, which won “Best Community Impact” at the 2019 Small Business BC Awards.
“Long Table Grocery has really shown me the demand for locally made food products from both consumers and producers,” says Quarry. “I’m so excited to be a part of Sprout Kitchen because I see so much potential and opportunity for entrepreneurs in a stronger local food system.”
Oliver is best known for her work with the Home Sweet Home Economic Project which ran a provincial Field School in 2016, bringing agricultural extension services and food business workshops to rural communities in rural British Columbia. Oliver says, “Economic initiatives like Sprout Kitchen really give our communities an opportunity to support new and existing food processing businesses while also creating economic benefit for local agricultural producers and suppliers.”
By Fall 2020, Sprout Kitchen will operate a centralized shared-use food and beverage processing facility in Quesnel that will provide new and established business owners with easy and affordable access to production facilities and equipment. The facility will also include food testing and business support services.
Sprout Kitchen will work with new processors from across the region and support them to get their businesses started while ensuring existing food processors are able to expand their product lines and develop new markets. Sprout Kitchen will also bring more opportunities for farmers, ranchers and wild harvesters to increase revenue by adding value to their products.
Teann Fung, Communications Clerk