COWICHAN COMMUNITY COMMERCIAL KITCHEN TO SUPPORT SMALL SCALE PRODUCERS

Thursday, April 1, 2021

New facility to serve as public space for expanding food processing, storing and training opportunities

COURTENAY, 1 April 2021 – The Cowichan Green Community has received funding through the Island Coastal Economic Trust’s (ICET) Economic Infrastructure and Innovation Program (EIIP) to develop a shared-use food processing facility and distribution centre, allowing value-added transformation for small agri-businesses.

The project is part of the recently announced trio of provincially funded food hubs on Vancouver Island (Cowichan Valley, Bowser and Victoria), which are now included in the province-wide network of training and processing facilities. The Cowichan Community Commercial Kitchen will target small scale famers, food processors and other organizations requiring access to a certified commercial kitchen to help scale their products to market. 

“Supporting the agri-food sector through value-added processing and innovation are key strategic priorities for the Trust and a main contributor to rural economic development,” says ICET Board Chair Aaron Stone. “This new kitchen will reduce barriers to access, encourage the consumption of BC products and ensure food security, while also helping build sector resiliency in the region.”

The project builds on two previous feasibility studies, including a 2017 ICET-funded report on “Creating Climate Change Resilience”, that outline the need to increase access to certified commercial kitchen facilities, as well as cold and dry storage for food processing in the region. Project funding will be used for construction of the commercial kitchen, as well as acquisition of the required specialty equipment such as the specialty food processing equipment.

“Value-added food transformation is an area with tremendous growth potential in the Cowichan region,” says Judy Stafford, Executive Director of the Cowichan Green Community. “This project is filling a need for small scale farmers and food processors who often don’t have the financial means and equipment to set up individual commercial kitchens or to purchase specialty equipment to develop new food processing products.”

The Cowichan Green Community has supported several successful social enterprises, over the years, dedicated to support agriculture, education and value-added processing in the region. The current project builds on the synergy created by their Garden Education Centre.

ICET’s is contributing $30,000 towards the project’s overall budget of $698,900. Work is expected to get underway shortly.

For more information about the Economic Infrastructure and Innovation Program (EIIP), please see our guidelines and application form.

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About the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET)
Created and capitalized by the Province of BC in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) mission is to create a more diverse and globally competitive Island and Coastal economy. In partnership with local and regional government, non-profits and indigenous communities, ICET serves nearly half a million residents. Funding and support for economic infrastructure and other economic diversification initiatives is delivered through a unique community centered decision-making process. Since inception, ICET has approved more than $54 million in funding for over 240 initiatives. These investments have leveraged over $270 million in new investment into the region creating more than 2500 construction phase jobs and 2650 long term permanent jobs.

For further information:
Amanda Fortier, Communications Officer
Island Coastal Economic Trust
Tel. 250-871-7797 *232

ICET By The Numbers

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)

ICET By The Numbers

50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together

ICET By The Numbers

$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated

ICET By The Numbers

3,650
post completion jobs created

ICET By The Numbers

$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested

ICET By The Numbers

$236
million leveraged into the region

ICET By The Numbers

$50.5
million disbursed

ICET By The Numbers

$52.1
million committed

ICET By The Numbers

212
economic development projects

ICET By The Numbers

170
projects completed

ICET By The Numbers

36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities

ICET By The Numbers

50+
communities with ICET projects

2019-2020 ANNUAL REPORT

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