Local food and beverage producers in the Creston Valley will be getting help in the form of a new regional food hub.

The Fields Forward Society in Creston will be receiving $750,000 as part of BC’s Economic Recovery Plan, over three years to lead the new community food hub.

“Creston is home to a variety of farmers and food processors who work hard to bring safe, reliable and delicious food to families throughout the province,” said Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston. “From meat and cheese to crops like grains, cherries and an abundance of other fruits and vegetables, farmers in the Kootenays contribute to a stronger food supply for British Columbia. I am thrilled to see funding for the food hub coming to the Creston Valley. This community-driven project is a decade in the making and will help farmers build their businesses and create value-added products, bringing the best of the Kootenays to kitchens here and across the province.”

Funding will be used to purchase equipment, renovate a facility, and cover staff positions for the next two years.

The food hub will help local food and farm businesses grow and innovate by providing the equipment they might not be able to afford on their own. It will also offer a distribution service and assist as sales support.

One of the local Creston businesses looking forward to using the new food hub is Wloka Farms.  Owned and operated by Barb and Frank Wloka for more than 40 years, the farm produces a number of fresh fruits, including peaches, plums, apples, pears and apricots. 

“The continuous development of a value-added food supply in Creston will strengthen food diversity and the long-term agricultural health of our community through innovation and collaboration,” said Barb Wloka. “We’re excited to see the opportunities the new food hub will bring to the community and surrounding areas, and we know this will help more young farmers have a bright future.”

Phase one will be complete in August 2021 with a full launch scheduled to take place in the winter of 2022.