Food and beverage producers in the Okanagan will soon have more opportunities to grow their businesses.
A new food hub will be coming to Salmon Arm to support local sellers and consumers in the North Okanagan.
“The province’s processing sector is seeing success all over B.C., and we are supporting farmers and food and beverage producers who want to take their products to the next level,” Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham said. “A new food hub will offer entrepreneurs in the Okanagan a place where they can create and package new products, receive business support and engage in training opportunities to help develop new innovative products that will strengthen food security, create good jobs and help the local economy thrive.”
The provincial government will be putting $500,000 toward the project, and it will be teaming up with the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society to help local businesses access the food and beverage space and equipment.
“The food hub will provide a shared processing space and create a venue for knowledge sharing designed to support the growth of local businesses,” Salmon Arm Economic Development Society economic development manager Lana Fitt said. “The funding announcement from BC’s Ministry of Agriculture enables our community to move forward with this important project, which will strengthen our economy.”
Salmon Arm’s new hub is expected to open next year, and has already received significant interest from clients who make products from local farms. The new facility will be the fifth in B.C., and the first in the Okanagan. It will join three hubs currently operating in Vancouver, Surrey and Port Alberni, with a fourth opening soon in Quesnel.
These hubs have brought in jobs, community building, business opportunities and skills training in each community they are operating in.
“The Minister of Agriculture has supported this initiative from idea through to implementation and we are very grateful for this support,” Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said. “As a region built upon a long history and a current economy of agriculture activities, the Shuswap is an ideal location in which to expand the B.C. Food Hub Network.”
B.C.’s food and beverage processors produce over $10 billion of products each year, and the B.C. Food Hub Network aims to increase opportunities in this sector.
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