A local public school – and the community surrounding it – will benefit from a new food hub in Prince Edward County.
Sophiasburgh Central School, once considered a candidate for consolidation, has gained new life thanks to help from the Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board in partnering with the PEC Food Hub.
A five-year lease is now in place between the two entities for use of available space at Sophiasburgh Central to create a community food hub that will provide a variety of different services.
Excess space of 5,800 square feet (the equivalent of five classrooms and a storage space) on the west side of Sophiasburgh Central will be used for the Hub. Services being offered include: a shared community kitchen for rental and/or use by businesses and community groups, business support services for users, student nutrition programs, food incubator for agricultural operations, food education and cooking classes and start up food operations among others.
For president of the not-for-profit food hub Mike Farrell, the initial plan was to approach the school board about saving Sophiasburgh Central School, but it soon became much more than that.
Farrell, who is also a parent of a child at Sophiasburgh Central, explains how the hub got set into motion.
Farrell says that process included getting a letter of intent with the board, becoming a corporate entity and putting forth a business plan among others.
Principal of Sophiasburgh Central Rob McFadden says this partnership is a positive one for the school.
HPE School Board Communications Officer Kerry Donnell tells Quinte News about the most important piece of the year-long process of getting the hub started.
Total funding of the project raised through individual donations, private philanthropic organizations, government grants and local business donations sits at $856,329.88. That includes $772,000 for overall estimated start-up costs and over $98,100 for projected first year annual operating expenses for the facility.
The school board says construction and renovations on the hub will take place over the next 10-12 months with an opening expected for summer 2019.