PEI

Feds spending $2M on new food business incubator in Borden-Carleton

The federal government announced Friday it will help fund Food Works, a Canadian Food Inspection Agency-certified food processing facility able to host multiple tenants. It's also spending $700,000 to get P.E.I. potatoes to new markets.

Ottawa also providing $700K to help diversify market for P.E.I. potatoes

Rendering of the Food Works building in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency-certified food processing facility will be able to house multiple tenants. (Government of Canada)

Ottawa is spending $2 million on the development of a new food industry incubator that's in the works in Borden-Carleton, P.E.I.

The federal government announced Friday it will help fund Food Works, a facility being developed by the Central Development Corporation with backing from the Food Island Partnership.

The project will turn an existing building in the community into a Canadian Food Inspection Agency-certified food processing facility that can house multiple tenants.

Sarah Bennetto O'Brien is the owner and CEO of The Handpie Company, the first business to sign a lease. She said she first heard about the project about a year ago.

"[The Food Island Partnership] mentioned that they might have finally found a place to create this, you know, higher level food manufacturing hub, that nothing like that exists in Prince Edward Island," she said. 

"We'd been trying to scale to that point for a couple of years. At that stage, it was just too big of a jump to make completely on our own as a small business."

Sarah Bennetto O'Brien shows off a hand pie. The Handpie Company is the first business to sign a lease for the future Food Works facility. (Submitted by The Handpie Company)

For The Handpie Company, the CFIA certification will mean they can start shipping their handmade savoury goods outside the province.

"We've kind of outgrown [our facility] in the last three years. We can only get provincial health board certification for our space, which means we can only make hand pies to distribute for our province, which only has a population of 160,000 people," she said.

"A lot of structural elements need to be there. But even just the space, we're going to be able to get into serious manufacturing."

The company has been ramping up hiring ahead of its anticipated move in October. Bennetto O'Brien said at least six other local businesses have expressed interest in signing a lease.

Besides the federal funding, the province is also spending $1 million on the facility.

New funding to diversify markets for P.E.I.'s potatoes

The federal government also announced it is spending $700,000 on a plan to help get P.E.I. potatoes to new markets.

The plan will be run by the Food Island Partnership in collaboration with the P.E.I. Potato Board.

Malpeque MP Heath MacDonald said in a news release the plan will help make the Island's potato industry more resilient.

"We recognize this has been a challenging time for P.E.I. potato growers, and the many businesses that support them," he said.

The province is contributing $300,000 to the plan through its potato wart emergency fund.

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