Foster Richardson, who worked as a team leader with the Cowichan Green Community, at the organization's farm on Beverly Street. (Citizen file)

Cowichan Green Community looks to expand site on Beverly Street Duncan

CGC asks North Cowichan to extend its licence of occupation

Cowichan Green Community is again moving forward with plans to increase food security in the region.

In a presentation to North Cowichan’s council on Dec. 2, CGC’s Sandy Munns and Judy Stafford asked that the municipality extend its five-year licence of occupation, which is set to expire in July 2021, to 10 years on the more than three acres of municipally owned land at 2431 Beverly St. where it has established farming initiatives and other programs, including the incubator seed farm and the agricultural equipment library.

Munns said CGC is now looking at integrating food production and processing into its existing food programs, and has applied to various agencies for more than $1 million in funding for the various projects that it would involve.

He said CGC is looking to set up a commercial kitchen and processing areas, a food crop greenhouse, cold storage and a distribution space for the local Cow-op, the region’s first online farmers’ marketplace of locally grown and processed food.

“We’re also developing school programs for farming and environmental education,” Munns said.

“We’re hoping North Cowichan will extend our licence of occupation to 10 years which would give us a longer window to look forward to for our plans, and for guidance from staff with permitting and application processes as we just don’t have the expertise to do it ourselves.”

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN GREEN COMMUNITY EYES FUNDING FOR VALUE ADDED FOOD PROCESSING

CGC began in 2001 as an environmental-based community outreach project delivered under the auspices of the Green Door Society.

Since then, the non-profit organization has grown to become an important hub for sustainability in the Cowichan Valley, with a strong focus on food security.

CGC has applied to the Ministry of Agriculture for a $750,000 grant, the federal food infrastructure fund for $220,000, the Investment Agricultural Foundation for $120,000, the Moss Foundation for $40,000, and the Island Coastal Economic Trust for $30,000 to fund its expansion plans.

So far, the funding from ICET and the Moss Foundation have been secured, and Stafford said she’s confident that CGC will be successful in acquiring grants from Ottawa.

“I was speaking at the House of Commons last week and [federal representatives] are interested in what is happening here,” she said.

“We were very impressed with our conversations at the federal level about the commitment to local food and local production. We feel encouraged that higher levels of government are in line with what we’re trying to do.”

RELATED STORY: COWICHAN GREEN COMMUNITY TAKES HOME PRIZE FOR STATION

Stafford said CGC appreciates that North Cowichan has eyes on the sector and has supported CGC in the past with land and some funding.

Count. Tek Manhas asked about the planned commercial kitchen at the site and Stafford said CGC currently has a commercial kitchen at its site on Duncan Street that is rented out to more than 50 local farmers and small businesses.

“We rent the space and provide the groups with the equipment they need,” she said.

“Another commercial kitchen would be used by those who want to process and export food. Also, Vancouver Island University has moved its culinary program from Providence Farm to the campus and that facility is smaller so VIU has been looking for an additional commercial kitchen to rent. It would be a multi-use purpose kitchen that will be available to the community.”

Count. Kate Marsh thanked CGC for its good work in the community.

“It’s incredible what you have accomplished within five years,” she said.

Mayor Al Siebring told the delegation that council doesn’t make decisions immediately after a delegation, and council will decide on CGC’s request in due course.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

Just Posted

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

People in Metro Vancouver can expect to experience a short wave of heat just in time for Father’s Day, according to Environment Canada. (Black Press Media files)
Short-lived heatwave headed for Metro Vancouver this weekend

Temperatures are expected to be up to 10 degrees higher than average Sunday and Monday

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

Most Read