OBJECTIVE – ATTRACT PROCESSING INVESTMENT (NICHE CROPS, GREENHOUSES, FABRICS, AQUACULTURE, DISTILLERY)
The future of farming may well divide into mega-farms on one side and boutique operations that fill niches in the food industry on the other. New mechanisms like a food incubator or farm succession/apprenticeship need to be explored to more fundamentally leverage business opportunity from land-based production. In addition, corporate investment in value added production is desired, but is a wildcard. Smaller scale niche production catering to the grow-local/organic market trend offers more direct connection to the Columbia Valley’s entrepreneurial enablement direction. Canal Flats has a distinct competitive advantage with water supply. Canal Flats has extensive industrial land area to accommodate processing. Canal Flats envisions incorporation of “urban farming” into housing innovation within the Village. Canal Flats has a microclimate within the Columbia Valley that is amenable to growing fruits and vegetables…and even grapes.
- Farm to table processing (jams, cheeses, berry syrup, meats, fruits, vegetables, etc.)/retail linked to tourism/local supply to restaurants. Organic (higher margin) packaged product potential.
– Supported by co-op approach, regional “brand” for products, and farm-stay tourism (food/education) that offers potential to create a sum greater than the parts.
- Hydroponic/vertical greenhouse. Vertical farming.
– Note: Sprung Structures (Aldersyde, AB) has a greenhouse option with a vertical farming element.
- Fibre Manufacturing (e.g. clothing – alpaca, hemp)
- Brewery – e.g. (Rossland)
- Distillery/Cidery – e.g. Pemberton Distillery, Turner Valley Eau Claire Distillery
- Capitalization on vertical greenhouse opportunity to supply Calgary region fresh food market.
- Three to five farm to table product specialties, with a region-based brand stamp to be leveraged by the tourism
- An emergent distillery/brewery market to serve BC and AB “fresh” market.
- Develop Niche Crop Focus – work with Valley agricultural industry to identify one to two product development priorities that align with local climate/growing capability/greenhouse specialty. This include food, but could also include nutraceuticals, and should consider ethnic food production potential.
- Create a Food Manufacturing Incubator – transition one community hall, church or Legion kitchen in Columbia Valley into a commercially-licensed food production facility. Consider construction level/licensing to be able to support export outside BC. The vision is to create a commercially-licensed kitchen that nurtures growth of micro-business/start-up food manufacturing enterprises that face a significant initial – even “non-starter” barrier with respect to regulatory requirement to produce in a commercially-licensed kitchen facility. These types of enterprises, nurtured locally, then grow into larger enterprises.
- Explore Vertical Farming (Greenhouse) Opportunity – vertical farming offers a signature opportunity in context of growing consumer interest in organic and/or fresh produce. This interest translates to restaurants, farmer’s markets, and grocery stores that are adding locally grown produce to the supply chain. Intensification of production combined with fewer inputs to production (water, chemicals) offers a new form of agricultural economic opportunity, and integrates well with the Columbia Valley tourism industry. E.g. Bevo Agro Inc. (Vancouver) has a patent pending Cubic Farming technology which has been several years in development and production. Licensed to CubicFarms Systems, the system is dedicated to managing the opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to own and operate a cubic farm by providing world-class systems, processes and support to the cubic farmer.