Community

Food Corridor Association to grow local food sector

The local food experience in the Columbia Valley is one of variety and delight. You can visit a coffee roaster, brewery, honey producer, organic farm, take a cooking class, visit a greenhouse, bake a pizza in a wood fired oven, or buy your locally grown and produced meal at a fabulous farmers market. Taken together, these experiences form a vibrant local food economy that creates jobs, supports farmers, increases food security and builds a market for culinary tourism.

A group of food producers and volunteers have come together to form the Columbia Valley Food Corridor Association (CVFCA). They are interested in economic development of the local food sector in our region and are currently looking into the feasibility of establishing a Food Business Incubator, including a shared-use commercial kitchen and business development support for food entrepreneurs.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs and community organizations are confronted with the barrier of requiring a commercial kitchen to prepare their product. A shared-use commercial kitchen creates a cost-effective community resource by providing a facility that anyone can use to cook food for large public gatherings (local festivals, farmers markets) or for use by a new and upcoming local food business.

Food-related businesses face unique challenges related to market development, food safety, labelling, storage and packaging. The business incubator concept would provide resources and business development support to assist early-stage food businesses facing these hurdles.

As part of the feasibility research, the Columbia Valley Food Corridor Association has created a short survey for food businesses in the East Kootenay region. To participate in this survey, please go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/EKFoodBusiness.

The project is also seeking aspiring and current food business entrepreneurs to participate in focus groups or interviews. Interested businesses may contact brightwell.gerri@gmail.com.

The CVFCA gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Regional District of East Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust, which supports efforts to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the residents of the Columbia Basin.

 

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