PROVINCIAL PROGRAM PROVIDES $100,000 FUNDING FOR COMMERCIAL FOOD EQUIPMENT
– – – Professional Equipment Helps Entrepreneurs: Minister Kostyshyn
A new program will provide funds to purchase new food processing equipment in commercial community kitchens, Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.
“There is a thriving community of small-scale food producers and processors in Manitoba,” said Minister Kostyshyn. “We want to see entrepreneurs act on their innovative ideas and develop their food products, and accessing community-based commercial kitchens in their communities can help make this happen.”
The Commercial Community Kitchen Food Enterprise program will make $100,000 in cost-shared funding available for the purchase and installation of new equipment in eligible facilities. Commercial community kitchens must be operated by non-profit community organizations and be inspected by Manitoba Health to be eligible. The minister noted that by installing new equipment, these facilities can offer food entrepreneurs who rent space more options to develop, scale up and commercialize their food products. There are more than 20 permitted commercial community kitchens throughout the province that rent space to small-scale food processors.
“New equipment will help people who already use community kitchens make their products more efficiently and on a larger scale, but it will also attract new people to come and use the space,” said Chris Hornby, manager, Teulon Rockwood Centennial Centre community kitchen. “The average person doesn’t have access to a commercial kitchen or equipment, and by providing this we’re increasing the amount of food being made in Manitoba that can be sold in farmer’s markets and stores.”
The minister noted the province is committed to increasing the value of food processing to $5.5 billion by 2022 from its current $4.95 billion, and small-scale food producers and processors who start and grow their businesses will play an important role in achieving this goal.
In 2014, the province established the Small Scale Food Manitoba working group to build and strengthen the small scale food production and processing sector. The working group highlighted the importance of bringing together small scale producers and processors from across Manitoba to discuss the need to formally organize.
Using funding from the Canada and Manitoba governments through Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, small scale producers will participate in a facilitated meeting on Nov. 24. This discussion will focus on the potential need for a formal organization and determine future activities to enhance small scale production and processing in Manitoba.
“Small scale producers and processors provide entrepreneurial spirit and employment in their communities,” said Dr. Wayne Lees, chair, Small Scale Food Manitoba Report group. “If this group decides to organize into an association, it will make it easier for producers and processors to create common policy and provide direction to make their wishes known to government and industry.”