Connecting farmers to customers goal of Langley Township ‘food hub’ study

“Farmers know how to grow food, but getting it to consumers and dealing with marketing and distribution is a whole different ball game.”

Getting Langley food producers who work on small and medium farms selling their products to local residents is the goal of a Food Hub Feasibility Study, which is about to launch in the Township.

The study, which is being prepared by Township Agricultural Advisory Committee, will get underway on March 12 with a workshop for food producers who work on small and medium farms.

“We want to know what our farmers’ needs are and what their customers’ needs are, and find ways to better connect them,” Mayor Jack Froese said.

“There are many people who want to eat local, fresh food and many farmers committed to providing it.”

The idea of creating a food hub was first floated in the Township’s Agricultural Viability Strategy.

Completed in 2013, the strategy suggests agri-business can be made more viable by providing a welcoming business environment, having a secure agricultural land base, and ensuring farmers use best management practices. It also stresses the need to provide proper services and infrastructure to enhance the agri-food industry in Langley.

“Creating a food hub would allow farmers to do what they do best — farm,” said Councillor David Davis, co-chair of the Agricultural Advisory Committee and a dairy farmer himself.

“Farmers know how to grow food, but getting it to consumers and dealing with marketing and distribution is a whole different ball game.”

A food hub in Langley Township would tie together everything from warehouses and transportation companies to businesses that provide packaging and marketing.

It would also support farmers markets, restaurants, and commercial food preparation kitchens.

“A food hub that makes it easier to deal with other aspects of the food production business would be a great incentive for aspiring young farmers or anyone thinking about getting into farming in Langley Township,” Davis said.

The Stakeholder Workshop will run from 6:30 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 12.

Amy McCann of the Local Food Marketplace in Oregon, which provides professional support to food hubs, will be featured speaker.

To register, call 604-533-6154 before Monday, March 9.

The location of the workshop will be confirmed during registration.

The session will focus on small and medium food producers but everyone concerned about food production is welcome.

For more information, call Teresa Kaszonyi of the Township of Langley’s Community Development Department at 604-533-6091.