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Summerhill Winery wants to build a Culinary College for Humanity

An artist's rendition of the proposed Culinary College for Humanity at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna.
An artist's rendition of the proposed Culinary College for Humanity at Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / City of Kelowna

The owner of Summerhill Pyramid Winery in Kelowna wants to create a world class Culinary College for Humanity on top of his wine cellar.

Stephen Cipes submitted an application to the City of Kelowna for non-farm use at the Summerhill operation on Chute Lake Road yesterday, Feb. 20.

“Kelowna is THE ideal location for the Culinary College for Humanity, as it is the breadbasket of B.C.’s Interior, with local produce, meats, fruits, wine and dairy, and with fresh fish from inland lakes and farms and from the nearby coast,” he wrote in an executive summary included in the application. “As a model for the world of organic and local, the entire world will be inspired.”

The proposal is for a four-storey building on top of existing structures where retreats, short and full semester courses and workshops will draw people from around the world who want to transform agriculture with a focus on a “fully regionalized, zero waste, organic food system.”

“Large scale industrial farming as well as globalized transportation of food commodities is responsible for significant environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions,” Cipes wrote. “CCH (Culinary College for Humanity) will demonstrate a model of a regionalized food system with regenerative agricultural practices that aid in soil carbon sequestration and fertility and reduce long distance transportation.”

The proposed building will not reduce the amount of productive farmland at the vineyard. Operations will expand to include things like vegetable gardens, a “food forest”, large scale “biodynamic” composting, apiary, pollinator sanctuaries and small scale animal husbandry.

It is likely to take several weeks for the application to reach city council, which will be asked to support the proposal before it is forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission.

Learn more about Summerhill and Cipes here.

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