“We're seeing a lot of people from Squamish have completed it, some from Whistler, some from Pemberton and some from Lillooet. But we'd like to see more from all of the regions,” said tenBrink.“We're really encouraging people to complete the survey, if they can.”
She added that a regional farm hub program is meant to help bolster and sustain the local food economy. If the region shows enough interest, they could move forward with the next phase of planning the program.A farm hub program is not new to B.C., according to tenBrink, as one was recently developed on Vancouver Island. Known as the South Island Farm Hub, local food is sold online and is available for pick up or delivery on specific days. The Sea to Sky version would be much of the same, tenBrink said.
“It's fully online and things are delivered to you,” she said. “It's removing the barriers and just modernizing how we can easily support farmers in our region, year-round. And, in an efficient and effective way.”So far, the data that has been collected has shown interest.
Of farmers who have responded, approximately 50% have said that they are interested, 41% have said maybe, but they would like to learn more and 8.3% have said no. Of institutions that have responded, approximately 61% have said yes and 38% have said maybe and there have been zero nos. Of consumers who have responded, approximately 72% have said yes, 27% said maybe and the remaining 1% said no.TenBrink noted that this concept is not trying to take away from established farmers’ markets or previous farmer-to-purchaser relationships. Instead, the hope is to build further networks for the farmers, consumers and purchasers.
“We're trying to come up with a win-win situation for all parties involved,” she said.To access the survey or to learn more, visit squamishfoodpolicycouncil.com/virtual-regional-farm-hub.