Paul Latour, founder and executive director of Herowork, stands in the Esquimalt warehouse of the Mustard Seed. His team has embarked upon the first in a two-phase renovation that will see a commercial kitchen built for the non-profit, to further fight hunger in Greater Victoria. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Herowork to transform Victoria’s Mustard Seed locations, improve food services

Esquimalt distribution centre gaining commerical kitchen, dignity market slated for Queens Avenue

Every year, the Mustard Seed throws 85,000 lbs. of perishable food into the compost, having no use for it without the proper facilities to prepare meals.

Herowork, the local renovation company who works with charities and other non-profits is helping fix that problem, with plans to build a commercial kitchen and dignity market in a two-phase project beginning in June at Mustard Seed’s Viewfield Road facility.

“This is a huge build for a big and great organization,” says Paul Latour, executive director and founder of Herowork.

The 4,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Esquimalt, where food rescued from grocery stores is distributed to 42,000 people per month through 60 community partners, will be renovated. The addition of commercial kitchen equipment, racking and improved counter surfaces will create a 450 sq. ft. processing space. Herowork will also provide a rebuild for the bathrooms and offices.

“We contacted professional chefs, engineers and architects to come up with a beautiful design,” Latour explains.

New sewers and drains, commercial grade non-slip flooring and Plexiglas wall panelling are in the works, and a new six-burner stove, refrigeration equipment and convection oven are also coming. The changes will enable volunteers in the food rescue community kitchen to transform nearly half of the previous food waste into nutritious soups, stocks, and sauces.

Through this work, the kitchen will be able to process 40,000 lbs. of food per year, says Latour. The kitchen will also be used by other organizations as a base from which to run programs building on cooking skills and food literacy.

In October, phase two of the renovation will see the creation of The Dignity Market at the Queens Avenue location.

Some 5,000 people are served each month by the Mustard Seed’s food hamper program, and the market – designed after a grocery store – will enable them to shop for items they choose, reducing food waste, as well as shame and stigma.

“Both projects are different,” Latour says. “There’s been some learning curves. But, this is the most value we’ve achieved [in a project]. We estimate these renovations at about $900,000.”

Herowork began excavations last weekend and volunteers are still welcome. Those skilled in trades like plumbing and carpentry are needed, as well as general help. The food distribution centre at Mustard Seed will remain in operation during the month-long renovation, slated to finish June 17.

“Our specialty is connecting their mission and vision with the infrastructure they need,” says Latour.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Mustard Seed

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rare comet dazzles night sky over Saanich Peninsula

Comet NEOWISE is passing Earth for the first time in 7,000 years

Victoria council looks to address systematic racism

Motion put forward calling on police to end street checks

Saanich warns of ongoing night work at the Shelbourne, McKenzie intersection

Construction expected to take three weeks to complete

Saanich News celebrates community with photospread

Share your images for a chance to win a gift card

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

Port Alberni will have a salmon derby on Labour Day after all

Alberni Valley Tyee Club reveals ‘socially distanced’ derby only for Labour Day 2020

‘Trauma equals addiction’ – why some seek solace in illicit substances

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Most Read