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Agriculture group seeks support for food facility

Texada Island entrepreneurs want to share processing hub

Texada Agriculture Group (TAG) has given the regional district food for thought.

Tom Read, president of TAG, made a request for $5,000 for Texada Food Hub at the regional district’s rural services committee meeting, February 12. Read said the regional district had supported the food hub since its inception. He asked that the committee take a good look at funding the proposal from the regional district’s economic development service.

“It would complete the funding we need to go ahead and build the facility,” Read said. “That’s a big deal. We’ve been raising money for more than two years to get this far.”

He said the regional district had already provided support, granting $2,500 in seed money. It helped start the Texada Island Farm Fest, which is a fundraiser for the food hub project and a mechanism for raising awareness about local food.

Read said he wanted to emphasize this is long-term economic development infrastructure, which is why Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) provided a $22,100 grant in October 2014.

“That was part of their economic development infrastructure program,” he said. “It provides value to the region for many years to come and all kinds of economic benefits to the region, not just Texada itself.”

Electoral Area C director Colin Palmer asked if the $5,000 was a one-time request. Read said it was to top-up matching funds required for the ICET grant.

Texada Food Hub will be used by local food entrepreneurs for commercial-level food processing, preservation, packaging and short-term storage, not for serving freshly made meals directly to the public on the premises, as would occur with a restaurant kitchen. Because few individuals can afford to build their own commercial kitchen, the Texada Food Hub will include shared equipment for processing and preserving commercial-grade frozen foods, dehydrated foods, fermented foods, and baked goods. Food products made in this facility will be legally marketable locally, regionally and beyond.

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