Limited-income residents living in Greater Victoria will soon have better access to local, nutritious food.
The Victoria Community Food Hub Society’s Food Connections project has received a provincial grant of $350,000, administered through the Victoria Foundation’s Provincial Food Security Initiatives Fund. Food Connections is a program that connects locally produced foods and foods scavenged from regional grocery stores to a certified kitchen to create value-added products. Shelf-stable foods are then developed for community programs, markets and schools.
“It is unacceptable that more than half a million British Columbians experience household food insecurity,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “We work with community partners to help people in need get nutritious food.
The funding will support the purchase of food processing equipment for Food Connections to extend the life of local foods and reduce food waste.
The equipment will also play a vital role in the Food Connections training kitchen. This kitchen provides opportunities for skill development, especially for limited income, racialized, Indigenous and newcomer participants. Participants learn how to handle, process, sort and create recipes to support personal skills development and employability.
Food Connections is a local partnership with the Victoria Community Food Hub Society. Their training incubator and food processing kitchen helps distribute the Mustard Seed Food Bank and the Victoria Community Food Hub through 70 food charities and three school district meal programs through the Food Share Network.
Food security is identified as a key issue in TogetherBC, the province’s poverty reduction strategy. Since 2019, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction has provided nearly $26 million for the planning and implementation of poverty reduction and food security initiatives in communities across Colombia. British, including First Nations communities.
This funding is in addition to $1.9 million the province provided to the Mustard Seed Food Bank to help purchase the Food Security Distribution Center at 808 Viewfield Road. serve as the Capital Region’s food hub.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food has invested $800,000 in the Victoria Community Food Hub and over $8 million in the 12 regional food hubs that make up the BC Food Hub Network. The centers help small and medium-sized businesses access shared food and beverage processing spaces and equipment to increase production and sales while contributing to local food security.
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food –
“By leveraging our BC Food Hub Network, we’re working hard to ensure we have resilient local food systems that connect communities to food and beverage options with ingredients from their own backyards. We will continue to invest in programs and projects that increase food security for British Columbians while strengthening our food economy.
Mitzi Dean, Minister of Child and Family Development, MP for Esquimalt-Metchosin –
“Our government wants to ensure that all British Columbians have access to safe and healthy food that is culturally appropriate to their lifestyle. We invest in community partners and non-profit organizations to maximize the good work they do, because no child, youth or adult should go hungry in our province.
Sandra Richardson, CEO, Victoria Foundation –
“Food affects many aspects of our lives. Every person deserves access to healthy food and the funding provided here will ensure that equitable access continues to be a priority. The Victoria Foundation is proud to work collaboratively to increase access to nutritious local foods in our region. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to create a vibrant and caring community for all.
Linda Geggie, Executive Director, Victoria Community Food Hub –
“Not only are we working to increase access to healthy local food, but we are also investing in people. This funding is critical to supporting access to good food and having the infrastructure in place to create livelihoods in a sustainable and growing sector of the economy.
Ty James, farmer –
“This funding will help support a central food processing hub and ensure food grown is not wasted. A huge amount of labor goes into producing high quality fruit and vegetables, so transforming these raw materials into products with a longer shelf life means that viable agricultural businesses can make a profit and supply the food bank. community of nutritious food for people in need. .”
TogetherBC, BC Poverty Reduction Strategy: gov.bc.ca/togetherbc
Victoria Community Food Hub Society: https://www.victoriacommunityfoodhub.com/