A new facility has opened in Esquimalt that promises to empower local farmers and food entrepreneurs.
The “Kitchen Connect Food Hub” on Viewfield Road in Esquimalt opened on Friday after what organizers say has been more than five years of planning.
For farmers, the facility will let them expand their reach.
“It means as a farmer, I don’t have to worry about fresh produce going bad anymore. It means that I can start to take my surplus production here for value added processing and we can fight against food inflation by growing more stuff and wasting less stuff,” said Ty James, a farmer from North Saanich and consultant on the Kitchen Connect project.
Meanwhile, food business owners can use the new facility to help grow their business – whether that be a start-up or a more established business that’s looking to scale up their production.
The Kitchen Connect facility allows users to meet higher regulatory food standards that are generally more accessible to big retailers.
It’s also home to standard kitchen equipment as well as larger equipment for big batch production.
Besides helping business owners, the facility also offers a peer mentorship and training program that helps newcomers, refugees and other vulnerable populations gain work experience and employment skills.