HALIFAX: A local food distribution co-op will be using a recent funding injection to build a new processing facility.
The last recipients of funding from Invest Nova Scotia included the Pan Cape Breton Food Hub which will receive $500,000 to purchase and renovate a building into a processing facility, retail outlet, commercial kitchen, and rental space that supports local, small agri-food businesses and entrepreneurs.
“This facility will be a gamechanger in our whole industry – farmers and food businesses will be able to expand and more people will get to eat Cape Breton grown food year-round,” said Alicia Lake, manager of the Cape Breton Food Hub.
Invest Nova Scotia was created in 2014 as an independent decision-making board for granting economic incentives.
“The Invest Nova Scotia Fund plays a vital role in supporting initiatives that advance sectors and regions in Nova Scotia through innovation and collaborative partnerships,” said Graham Eisenhaur, incoming board chair, Invest Nova Scotia. “These projects are a positive example of the strong and sustainable initiatives that Nova Scotians are leading. I look forward to the fund’s continued impact.”
The Pan Cape Breton Food Hub said it has purchased a building which will be the site of its processing facility. The building, located in Bras d’Or, was formally the Celtic County Market.
In 2018 the Cape Breton Food Hub undertook a strategic planning exercise engaging food stakeholders across Cape Breton to identify the way forward for the food sector. One of the biggest gaps identified in that process was a need for a multi-use food processing facility.
“This processing facility will change the local food landscape in Cape Breton by creating opportunities, increasing access to local foods, and incubating food businesses,” Lake noted.
“During the past year, the board of directors and staff have been working diligently to locate and purchase a building that could be renovated into a processing facility that would meet the needs of our producers and consumers,” explained Alison Giovanetti, consumer and board member of the Food Hub, “This building is well suited for the project.”
“Having this facility will allow us to expand our operations – being able to offer new products is super exciting,” noted Xennie Wright, from Pebble and Fern Market Garden, a producer member of the Food Hub.
Founded in 2015, the Pan Cape Breton Food Hub Co-op Ltd. provides a distribution link between local food producers and consumers. The co-op includes both producers and consumers as members. Its 10-person board of directors includes producers, consumers, and restaurants.