As more people begin to recognize the importance of local food, demand for island-raised and produced food is growing, but producers are bumping up against limitations in the existing infrastructure. At the same time, basic access to food remains an issue for many in the City, and food providers are limited in their ability to store, process, and redistribute food donations. Now is the time to invest in projects that will support the producers, local food entrepreneurs, and food providers. The Victoria Community Food Hub Society aims to build a facility to accomplish this.
The Victoria Community Food Hub will be a multi-stakeholder facility to support the development of a sustainable local food system on Vancouver Island. The overarching goal of the facility will be to increase the production of Island-grown food, by providing necessary physical infrastructure to store and process food, while incubating social enterprises. The facility will be run by Victoria Community Food Hub Society, a registered charity.
The proposed facility will feature a 3000 sq. foot processing facility, 5000 sq. foot shared office facilities, and a 4000 sq. foot food aggregation warehouse for food banks, local farmers, and distributors. This facility will fill a clearly identified need within the community. The Food Hub was deemed a critical piece of community infrastructure for our food system sustainability during the collaborative Food Security Roadmap Planning in Spring 2013. The sessions were hosted by the Victoria Foundation, Horner Foundation, United Way of Great Victoria, and Vancity; they were attended by key stakeholder groups and food security organizations in the region.
We have found several potential sites in Victoria. Two redevelopment sites and a building in the downtown core with an amenable landlord. Our intention is to secure a long-term lease on 12-16,000 sq feet, establish the facility, and then begin a capital campaign to purchase a building. We estimate that this project will require roughly $800,000 to get established, and an additional $3 million for building purchase.
Vancity has committed an initial $20,000 towards the feasibility study and preliminary business plan. While $5000 from the Island Chefs Collaborative has gone towards our charitable status application. Additional funding is being sought from United Way, Victoria Foundation, Vancity Community Foundation, Investment Agriculture, BC Gaming Foundation, the Real Estate Foundation, and through our own fundraising efforts.
We believe the earliest this facility will open is Spring 2015. Please like our facebook site to follow our progress and get in touch if you would like to be added to our quarterly newsletter.
jasonfound at gmail.com
There are many exciting partnerships and potentially revenue-generating programs under consideration and development. These include:
- a training cafe serving healthy local food to the downtown area (run by a non-profit)
- centralized food bank distribution (run with a group of food providers)
- local crop storage and distribution (run with a co-op of farmers)
- culinary trade training (run with the ICC and Camosun College)
- business training and product development for local food processors
- shared office space for local food-based projects and organizations
Advisory Group (to date):
- Darren Stott – Greenchain Consulting (New City Market, Victoria Public Market)
- Tracy Horner – Executive Director, Horner Foundation
- Don Evans – Executive Director, Our Place
- Nicholas Scapillati – Executive Director, FarmFolk CityFolk
- Candice Appleby – Executive Director, Small Scale Food Processors Association
- Rudi Wallace – Assistant Food Bank Director, Mustard Seed Food Bank
- Dwane MacIsaac – President, Island Chefs’ Collaborative
- Danella Parks – Vancity Community Investments
- Ian Scott – Principle Planner, Ian Scott Consulting
- Robin Holden – Source Group
- Linda Geggie – CR-FAIR
- Jamie Sellar – President of West Coast Artisan Foods
- Moira Teevan – Vancity Community Investment Associate
Project Supporters – Organization (to date):
- Mustard Seed Food Bank
- Island Chefs’ Collaborative
- LifeCycles Project Society
- Our Place Society
- Small Scale Food Processors’ Association
- The Living Edge
- Vancity Savings
- Project Supporters – Individual (to date)
- Lisa Helps – Victoria City Councillor
- Ben Isitt – Victoria City Councillor
- Dr. Andrew Weaver – MLA, Gordon Head – Oak Bay
- Elizabeth May – MP, Saanich – Gulf Islands
- Murray Rankin – MP, Victoria
- Sandra Richardson – CEO, Victoria Foundation
- Don Evans – Executive Director, Our Place
Board of Directors – (founding):
Jason Found | Rudi Wallace | Tara Black | Dwane MacIsaac | Melanie Banas | Sarah Irons
Project Lead – Jason Found is the principle of Found Solutions, a Victoria B.C.-based sustainability consulting firm. Jason has a broad and unique background that makes him the ideal project lead for the Victoria Community Food Hub. With more than 15 years of demonstrated commitment to sustainable food systems, urban (re)development, land development, green building, corporate social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship, Jason possesses the necessary mix of skills, knowledge, experience and network to ensure the success of this project.