March 7th, 2023 – Vancouver, BC
The Province is investing more than $200 million in food security to ensure people have better access to an increased supply of affordable, local food.
“Food security in British Columbia requires an available, affordable and uninterrupted supply of nutritious food,” said Premier David Eby. “At the same time, we need targeted, effective programs that support the people and communities most impacted by rising inflation, climate events and supply-chain shocks.”
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food will invest in new and enhanced programs to strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain and expand local food production from producers to processors and from packers to retailers. The ministry will also be investing in Indigenous communities to help with the availability and cost of food and to improve local food security, particularly in remote and rural communities. The funding will also help agricultural producers and food processors grow their businesses and become more resilient to the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events.
“This historic investment will give British Columbians access to more nutritious, local and affordable food while maintaining agriculture as a key economic driver in B.C.” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “This funding will help strengthen our food supply chain, increase food security in our communities, and improve our resilience in the face of a changing climate.”
Additionally, grants from the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will strengthen food banks, food distribution and food access. This includes providing food to under-served communities through trusted partners, such as FoodBanks BC and the United Way, as well as increasing the availability of fresh food in rural, Northern and Indigenous communities.
“Global inflation has hit people hard and the rising cost of food is especially tough on vulnerable people,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Helping people lead full, dignified lives is the right thing to do, and funding will help thousands of people access nutritious, affordable food.”
Food insecurity has increased because of COVID-19, inflation, supply-chain issues, and climate emergencies that interrupt the food supply as well as production. This unprecedented investment recognizes the diverse challenges of food producers, processors, suppliers, retailers and consumers, strengthening food security for everyone.
James Donaldson, CEO, BC Food and Beverage –
“As we feel the continued strains of inflation and supply-chain interruptions with our food system, there is no greater time to invest in our food system in British Columbia. For generations, we have provided consumers with quality trusted products and are a vital part of B.C.’s economy. It is imperative that we continue to ensure all British Columbians are nourished, and our food system thrive.”
Stan Vander Waal, president, BC Agriculture Council –
“B.C.’s farmers and ranchers recognize that the budget decisions made today affect their long-term economic success. The BC Agriculture Council thanks the government for its robust investment, and we look forward to the further details involved as food security and rising costs of food is at the forefront for all British Columbians.”
Michael McKnight, CEO, United Way BC –
“No one should have to go to bed worrying about how they will get their next meal or feed their families. This funding will support the expansion of United Way BC’s 20 regional community food hubs, to include new hubs in northern B.C. and southern Vancouver Island, and will strengthen service delivery and support. We will work closely with local food banks, Indigenous organizations and communities, and other social service agencies to help our friends and neighbours in need.”
Dan Huang Taylor, executive director, Food Banks BC –
“With British Columbians turning to food banks in record numbers, the funding support from the Province could not have been better timed. Food Banks BC applauds the commitment to investing in food security initiatives that result in more healthy, local food getting to people in need. We look forward to continuing to work in collaboration with the Province and other key stakeholders as we collectively seek an end to hunger in B.C.”
TogetherBC, B.C.’s poverty reduction strategy: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/poverty-reduction-strategy
Deputy Communications Director
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
250 889-5945 (mobile)
Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction