VANCOUVER — British Columbia is dedicating $200 million toward boosting both the province's food bank system and overall agricultural production and resiliency.
Premier David Eby says the funding will go toward two branches of spending: adding infrastructure to food banks, such as commercial coolers, and to improve overall food production and access throughout B.C.
Part of the money will be used to enhance programs to strengthen the food supply chain; expand food production from processors, packers and retailers; and fund climate preparedness measures.
Eby says the "historic" investment in B.C.'s food security comes as a direct response to events that occurred in the past few years, when flooding, wildfires and COVID supply-chain bottlenecks "essentially cut off" crucial supply lines in the province.
The funding is part of the province's plan to spend B.C.'s massive surplus, estimated last fall at more than $5 billion.
Eby says the spending also gives agricultural producers an opportunity to grow their businesses while improving climate preparedness and allowing more B.C.-produced food to be consumed by residents.
"So, in 2023, the security of our food has never been more top of mind, certainly for us as government and for British Columbians," Eby says. "That's a good thing, because it really underscores the importance that we've placed on this issue as government since Day 1."
The new funding focuses especially on Indigenous and remote northern communities for both food bank infrastructure and overall access to supply.
The premier says there may even be an opportunity for more local food production around the province, strengthening B.C.'s food supply chain.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2023.
The Canadian Press