Buying local produce in the Cowichan Valley is becoming even easier.

The provincial government is providing Cow-op, the Cowichan Valley Co-Operative, with funding to hire more staff.

The nearly 100-thousand dollar grant will allow Cow-op to hire two more people until May of 2021 to perform contactless-delivery of local food products.

The executive director of Cow-op, Derrick Pawlowski, says the COVID-19 pandemic was a blow to local farmers trying to sell their produce.

He says the co-op and Cowichan Green Community have been providing an online marketplace for local products since 2014 and it has become a lifeline for local farmers.

“When the main sales avenues for local farmers disappeared during the pandemic, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace and its online farmers market,, became a lifeline for them.”

Pawlowski says they hope to inspire more people to be part of enhancing food security.

“We are thrilled to provide a wide range of experiences to participants and hopefully will inspire more passionate work in the sectors of food security, natural resources and agriculture, and sales and services.”

The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction is providing funding through the Job Creation Partnership stream of WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships.