B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham (left); Matthew Kemshaw, executive director of LifeCycles; Grace Wong-Sneddon, chair of the Victoria Foundation; Norm Tandberg, volunteer with the Mustard Seed and Derek Pace, interim executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church look at some of the food rescued from being thrown out which is now distributed throughout the community by the Mustard Seed. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Government grants and donations allow Mustard Seed to purchase food distribution centre

The facility at 808 Viewfield Rd. processes 1.2 million pounds of donated produce every year

Volunteers and staff at the Mustard Seed can breathe a little easier now knowing that their building isn’t going anywhere.

Thanks to a combined financial donation from the province, the Victoria Foundation and VanCity, The Mustard Seed can now own the building which houses its food security distribution centre at 808 Viewfield Rd.

The province gave a $3 million grant to the Victoria Foundation, $2 million of which can be accessed by the Mustard Seed Street Church for the purchase of the 20,000 sq. ft warehouse, which was owned by the Capital Regional District (CRD).

ALSO READ: New kitchen for Mustard Seed built by volunteers

“This means that we are looking forward to a sustainable home, and not in the future we can stay here,” said Derek Pace, interim executive director of the Mustard Seed Street Church. “We can keep doing what we’re doing with the rescued food and now we have the opportunity to really ramp up what we’re doing here and really utilize this as a community asset, we’re really excited.”

B.C. Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham was present at the celebratory event, which featured rescued food prepared by students at Camosun College’s culinary program.

ALSO READ: Grocers come together to launch Victoria Foundation’s Island Food Caring campaign

“We’re here to celebrate the purchase of a building, but it’s a lot more than a simple facility, it has remarkable impact on our communities,” Popham said. “Food distribution helps 35,000 people each month… it’s an incredible partnership.”

Every day local grocery stores and businesses donate 4,000 lbs of food to the Mustard Seed food distribution centre, totalling over 1.2 million lbs per year.

A partnership of over 60 groups in Victoria’s Foodshare Network helps deliver this food to 35,000 people per month.

ALSO READ: Camosun cooks up support for Mustard Seed

“The purchase of this building represents a turning point in our collective agreement to bring food security to everyone in this community,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “

Pace said that with the permanence of the location now secured, the Mustard Seed will now begin a community consultation for its next ambition, called Vision Viewfield, which aims to incorporate farmers and local food processors into making the distribution centre a “buzzing food hub.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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