Vital Victoria Podcast #23: Growing the community through a farm-to-table food hub

The Victoria Community Food Hub is a crucial organization in a giant sustainable food ecosystem working to put farm-fresh grub in the bellies of all Greater Victorians. 

This month, host Lucky Budd chats with Laura Gair and Colleen Popyk – two outstanding people who are working tirelessly on Food Hub initiatives that bring good food to the capital region’s most vulnerable, while feeding our robust local food economy. 

The South Island FarmHub is an online farmer’s market that connects Victorians with boxes of fresh produce from local farmers, and it runs the Farm Bucks program to help subsidize this great food for charities and schools.  

Kitchen Connect is a food business incubator and processing facility open to anyone wanting to learn how to start a business and process their food to be sold in stores. 

Tune in for a lot more on these incredible initiatives, the faces behind them, and how you can get involved! 

Vital Signs Issue Areas:

This episode relates to the issue area of ‘Environmental Sustainability’, which was given a grade of ‘B’ in Greater Victoria’s 2023 Vital Signs report, and ‘Economy’, which was given a grade of C+. This issue is connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2: to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.

Episode 23 Guests:

Colleen Popyk: 

Colleen likes to “deal vegetables on weekends” and has worked as the General Manager of the South Island FarmHub, an initiative of the Victoria Community Food Hub, since it began in 2020. After moving to the capital region from Edmonton in 2008, Colleen worked at several farms, including NorthStar Organics and Haliburton Farm, along with Saanich Organics and Share Organics, and was even inspired to start her own organic farm in the region. Every day, she’s on the ground connecting with local farmers and producers to help grow their businesses, while managing the FarmHub’s food box program. 

Laura Gair: 

Laura Gair is a leader in empowering Greater Victorians to connect to where their food comes from. As the Director of Food Security and Resource Development at the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable (CRFAIR), she oversees the programs of the Victoria Community Food Hub. Originally from the lands of the Haudenosaunee peoples, Laura earned a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Guelph, and then a Bachelor of Science in Food, Nutrition, and Health from UBC. Before moving to Victoria, she worked with food security initiatives at the South Vancouver Neighbhourhood House and Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks. 

Episode 23 Resources: