By Management and Board of the Cape Breton Food Hub
Local farmers and community food producers are stocking the shelves of the Cape Breton Food Hub's retail store this holiday season. In an effort to strengthen the local food system, the Cape Breton Food Hub is committed to improving access to locally grown, raised, and prepared food produced by farmers on the Island through the reopening of the retail shop in Bras D'or beginning December 15.
Rising food prices are placing undue pressure on all of us consumers, and food producers are feeling these pressures, too. Farmers have to deal with increasing costs of animal feed and supplies and increasingly extreme weather patterns. Local food production is part of the culture and history of this Island; it generates income, ensures that we have access to healthy and fresh food, decreases the environmental footprint of our groceries, and makes our communities more resilient. If we are to keep food production on the island, we need to buy from our local farmers.
The Cape Breton Food Hub is a non-profit cooperative dedicated to local food distribution in Cape Breton. Operating since 2017, it connects the Island’s producers, consumers, restaurants, and businesses through a weekly online marketplace. Approximately 60 food producers offer vegetables, meat, seafood, baked goods, and value-added items that can be purchased by consumers. Each week, products are collected from producers, sorted, packed and distributed to consumers across Cape Breton in both urban and rural areas. The Food Hub also runs the Share the Harvest program, which provides financial support to those experiencing food insecurity through barrier-free access to local food.
In 2020, the Cape Breton Food Hub secured $1.3 million in capital funding to open “the Hub” in Bras d'Or, Cape Breton. The Hub houses a retail space, a commercial kitchen, and commercial-grade equipment for processing, freezing, and storage of vegetables, allowing for innovation in local food consumption throughout the region and Nova Scotia as a whole. The Hub enhances the viability of local food producers by providing access to infrastructure that empowers them to create value-added products, scale their businesses, and explore new opportunities.
On Friday, December 15, 2023, the Hub is re-opening its doors to the public. The Hub will offer a community space that features a retail store with fresh and frozen products from our farmers and food business owners, where customers can relax and enjoy local coffee, tea, and baked goods. The retail store provides another profit avenue for farmers and food producers and profits generated by the Cape Breton Food Hub in this new endeavour will be reinvested into the organization to continue to support food producers and consumers on Cape Breton Island.
The Hub holds infrastructure to expand and promote more opportunities to access high-quality local food by making it readily available to consumers. It offers a space for food processing, workshops, community gatherings, and of course grocery shopping. The food economy in Cape Breton is expanding and we’re working together to build a future food system that serves us all, producers and consumers.
Located at 1415 Trans Canada Highway 105, Bras d'Or, The Hub’s retail store will be open on Friday, December 15. Operating hours following our opening will be 10-5 Thursday-Saturday.
If you’re not able to visit the space, you can order from local producers online here: capebretonfoodhub.ca