After three years of careful planning, the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) launched ‘Island Good,’ an initiative to highlight food that is being produced and manufactured on Vancouver Island.
The goal of the campaign is to help increase the strength of the local food economy in various grocery stores around the Island. Island Good’s retail partners in District 69 are Quality Foods and Thrifty Foods, who have been actively promoting the campaign over the past four months through specifically designed in-store signage to alert shoppers of products produced and made on Vancouver Island.
Their efforts have yielded positive consumer response, showing that increased visibility at the point of sale is crucial and that residents of Vancouver Island want to purchase locally sourced products. Grocery stores participating in the program outside of District 69 are Country Grocer and 49th Parallel.
According to VIEA, in 2016 on Vancouver Island the number of farms engaged in animal production was 1,242 and the number of farms engaged in crop production was 1,444. Aquaculture production averaged $475 million. That’s a lot of small-, medium- and large-sized operations making local food available to Islanders.
Let’s not forget the number of incomes these businesses contribute to, whether it be causal, part-time or full-time employment, it’s significant to each community.
Joining ‘Island Good’ to assist with funding the project are Vancouver Island pro-active food producers and distributors such as the BC Salmon Farmers Association, B&C Foods, Hertel Meats, Paradise Island Foods, Portofino European Bakery, Dairyland, and Vancouver Island Farm Products, along with core funding from the Island Coastal Economic Trust and VIEA.
The campaign is set to run until mid-September, with the results from the six-month pilot project to be shared at the State of the Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo this Oct. 24 and 25. The event is based around the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance core principles of collaboration to add vitality to Vancouver Island’s economy.
Two business leaders from District 69 are active members of the board of directors of VIEA, they are Sandy Herle of Close to You Fashions and Dave Willie of Black and White Party Rentals.
If you like to support Vancouver Island farmers, fishers and food producers, look for “Island Good.”
— Parksville Qualicum Beach News