The Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace (Cow-op) will be receiving government funding to develop a new contactless home delivery system to provide residents with safer access fresh home-delivered, locally grown produce and products.
Through a Job Creation Partnership project funded by the BC Government, Cow-op will receive nearly $100,000 to develop the system while supporting local farmers and processors.
“The past few months have highlighted the importance of food security, as well as adaptability to deliver food from farm to table during COVID-19,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Looking forward, Cow-op’s innovative contactless home delivery system will provide training and work experience for…local individuals, while developing a safe way to deliver fresh, healthy food to buyers and supporting farmers to grow and sell their products sustainably.”
The Cow-op is a non-profit farmer and food processor co-operative, in partnership with Cowichan Green Community, that has offered an online marketplace for locally grown food since 2014.
“I’m pleased to see that the Cow-op marketplace will continue to build on their model of providing fresh local food from field to front door. This service directly supports the health and well-being of families in the agriculture business and those who enjoy their products, and helps build food security and resiliency in Cowichan,” said Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley.
The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing the funding to Cow-op as part of WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP).
“When the main sales avenues for local farmers disappeared during the pandemic, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace and its online farmers market, Cow-op.ca, became a lifeline for them,” said Derrick Pawlowski, executive director, Cow-op.ca. “We are thrilled to provide a wide range of experiences to participants and hopefully will inspire more passionate work in the sectors of food security, natural resources and agriculture, and sales and services.”
The government says it has invested over $19 million in these CEP projects around BC in 2019-20.