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Buying local, buying fresh flourishing in Cowichan Valley

People in the Cowichan Valley and Victoria will have better, safer access to fresh home-delivered, locally grown produce and products, thanks to a Job Creation Partnership project funded by the provincial government.

The Cowichan Valley Co-Operative Marketplace (Cow-op), a non-profit farmer and food processor co-operative, will receive nearly $100,000 to develop a contactless home delivery system while supporting farmers and processors in the region. Two local eligible job seekers will have the opportunity to build transferable skills in logistics, operations and community engagement until May 2021.

“The past few months have highlighted the importance of food security, as well as adaptability to deliver food from farm to table during COVID-19,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Looking forward, Cow-op’s innovative contactless home delivery system will provide training and work experience for two local individuals, while developing a safe way to deliver fresh, healthy food to buyers and supporting farmers to grow and sell their products sustainably.”

Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, said: “I’m pleased to see that the Cow-op marketplace will continue to build on their model of providing fresh local food from field to front door. This service directly supports the health and well-being of families in the agriculture business and those who enjoy their products, and helps build food security and resiliency in Cowichan.”

The Cow-op is an initiative of the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace in partnership with Cowichan Green Community. It has been providing an online marketplace for locally grown and harvested food since 2014.

“When the main sales avenues for local farmers disappeared during the pandemic, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace and its online farmers market, Cow-op.ca, became a lifeline for them,” said Derrick Pawlowski, executive director, Cow-op.ca. “We are thrilled to provide a wide range of experiences to participants and hopefully will inspire more passionate work in the sectors of food security, natural resources and agriculture, and sales and services.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing the funding to Cow-op through the Job Creation Partnership stream of WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP).

Quick Facts:

  • Over $19 million was invested in CEP projects around B.C. in 2019-20.
  • CEP’s goal is to increase employment and work experience opportunities in communities throughout B.C.

Learn More:

Learn more about how WorkBC can help find British Columbians jobs that are right for them: www.workbc.ca/rightforyou

Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace: https://cow-op.ca/

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