Something new and exciting is happening next door to the Bay of Quinte region in Northumberland County! It is my pleasure to introduce to you the OAFVC (Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre).
In the short form, Northumberland County is building a not-for-profit small-batch food processing facility. In the long form, Northumberland County is taking on a huge venture that has the potential to revolutionize this area of southern Ontario.
The OAFVC is located in the municipally owned Colborne Industrial Park, easily accessible from the 401. It’s a modern looking building with well-decorated offices that offer a variety of awesome services. Some services offered include the washing, cutting, quick chilling or flash freezing of fresh fruits, vegetables or other crops. Other services offered include cold/frozen/dry storage, packaging, and labeling of products. And for the entrepreneurs the facility boasts a fully equipped commercial kitchen, business incubation and a training facility.
You might be thinking: Who would use this place? But this facility is meant for everyone to use. It will support farmers with fruit and vegetable value-adding opportunities to increase farm revenue, it will help foodies (food-loving people) with recipe development, and it will work with food processing start-ups and expansions in Ontario with R&D, test batch and small batch co-packing capacity.
The new OAFVC has many objectives it wishes to accomplish; among them to provide resources to support, facilitate and advance a sustainable regional local food economy; create the necessary infrastructure and support for a value-adding production, minimal processing and business services to existing and emerging businesses, organizations and the surrounding community; and to insure sustainability through multiple revenue streams.
A few anticipated outcomes projected by the creators of the OAFVC are to: create new business opportunities resulting in increased revenues and employment, increase production of local food offerings by enhancing demand, as well as encourage investment in local agriculture and support more entrepreneurial endeavours in agriculture and related support industries. That is no short list of goals, and that list isn’t even exhaustive!
The scope of the project in and of itself is impressive. The individual facility is 15,000 sq. ft. and uses a solar panelled roof. The site is easily accessible and is preferred by the local agricultural community as determined by the BR&E.
The facility will provide the following exciting resources: rental of cooking, chilling, freezing, and packaging/labeling equipment to the agricultural/business community on a cost recovery basis; cold storage capacity to accommodate both refrigerated and frozen items; designated space to accommodate a private sector food distributer (niche market); meeting and limited office space; technology access for e-commerce activities/health and safety standards; and food processing expertise – on-site support during production/processing periods from food processing programs at various education institutions (Durham and Loyalist colleges).
And it’s yours to use! The space is slated for opening Spring 2015 so keep your eyes and ears peeled for information surrounding this radical new place located just next door!
If you’re interested in more information please email [email protected]