The Farm Centre was identified in the Local Area Farm Plan as an important component in establishing a stronger local food system. A related demonstration project, and further consultation and analysis confirmed this need. During this time, ownership of a property on Beddis Road was given to the Salt Spring Island Farmland Trust Society (SSIFTS) as part of a land deal. This property is recognized as a good site for the Farm Centre for its central location, supportive zoning and availability.
In late 2013, a Produce Centre Planning Committee was initiated by the Alliance and the SSIFTS to oversee a facility Feasibility Study and eventual Master Plan for the site on Beddis Road. The PCPC meets regularly at the Farmers’ Institute. Meetings are open to the public. Check the Calendar for upcoming meetings.
Agriculture on Salt Spring Island is comprised of many, very diverse, and often small, farms. Historically, each farm managed the cultivation, processing and marketing of their produce. Many farms sell at the local markets, through farm stands, and directly to individuals, grocery stores and restaurants. Some farms wholesale or sell at off-island markets. While all of these approaches can be effective for generating profit for the farms and providing local food to consumers, many of the large institutions, restaurants and grocery stores on Salt Spring continue to purchase the majority through distributors who source produce from the mainland, California and beyond. The off-island produce is more consistently available in large quantities, and often at cheaper prices than produce grown on-island.
The Produce Centre project is intended to create a local wholesale and distribution alternative that better serves the large on-island food purchasers and increases the demand for locally grown food. It is also envisioned to support local, enterprising food producers who require commercial procession space and equipment to create value-added products.
This work is partially funded through a VanCity EcoFund grant. (INSERT LOGO)