Community food hubs provide local farmers and food producers with additional beyond farm direct marketing opportunities as well as physical infrastructure to process and distribute their goods. These networks have the potential to support sustainable, local food systems through the creation and retention of entrepreneurial jobs that prioritize local inputs for products from within their communities. This food system model can also meaningfully reduce the amount of emissions agricultural products generate in their journey from the farm to our plates.
There are a number of grassroots food networks across the province that have sprouted and operate within their community. The Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust (SSIFT) promotes agriculture on the Island and Southern Gulf Islands through a number of community-based ventures.
One of the Trust’s upcoming projects is a community food processing, storage, and general local food spot called The Root. This state-of-the-art facility aims to improve the Island’s ability to produce, process, preserve, and distribute local food. Trust co-chair, Sheila Dobie says collaborative educational opportunities, such as workshops, are key components of the space.
“How can we work together to make this work for all of us? We’re wanting to bring the community in to share expertise as well as give folks some fundamental knowledge and provide the necessary infrastructure to assist food businesses and wannabe producers with their success,” says Dobie.
The Trust prioritizes the interests of its community and recognizes the benefits of collaborative action. A recently released survey aims to provide valuable feedback from residents about how The Root can best serve their needs.
“This is another centralized place where local eaters, perhaps even restaurateurs and grocers, can go to shop local food. That would benefit farmers hugely, partially because delivery costs would be down,” says Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust co-chair, Sheila Dobie.