BC's Local Eating Movement Inspires Many

When it comes to amazing local food, BC’s got it covered. It’s no wonder we’ve seen the rise of a local eating movement and forums like Buy Local. Eat Natural. take off. There's no doubt about it: A growing number of people in BC are interested in sharing information about local food, what’s in season and where to get it. It's not exactly slim pickings.  From oysters and salmon to wine, beef and berries, there’s not a lot that doesn’t grow here. 

In this blog, we reach out to the people at Buy Local. Eat Natural. to find out more about their vision for local eating. Below, we catch up with Jennifer O'Byrne, one of the managers at Buy Local to learn more. Enjoy!

BT: How did Buy Local. Eat Natural. come about?

JO: Buy Local. Eat Natural. started four years ago with the goal to educate people in BC about where their food comes from and the positive benefits of choosing locally produced products. The idea is that by choosing to purchase local food, you will not only be getting a natural and delicious product, but you will also be supporting the local economy and cutting carbon footprints. It started off as a way to create a connection with consumers to their local BC dairy farmers and has evolved to promote other food producers. Essentially, we have a website, Twitter and FB page and this is our online community forum. From these platforms, we provide recipes and information for people to purchase and prepare delicious meals with local ingredients. 

Farmer Weibe and his daughters


BT: What are some of the most telling areas of interest you’ve seen come from the community participation?

JO: The popularity of farmers markets, interest in circle farm tours and the opening of restaurants focused on local food shows me that the local food movement is growing. People feel good when they support their local farmer and notice a better quality and taste when they cook with fresh, local ingredients.

BT: What are you hoping to accomplish with Buy Local and do you see these accomplishments taking shape?

JO: The goal of Buy Local. Eat Natural. is to create a connection with consumers to local products, growers and producers and yes, we do see that happening. I have been amazed at how much this community has grown online through social media. What we've found is that people are passionate about eating and buying local food and they love talking about it! Down the road, we would like to work with other agriculture groups to become a central hub for consumers about where to buy local ingredients, local growers and eating locally. We would like to add more farmer profiles, and recipes to the website. We are also hoping to form partnerships with other organizations who are big supporters of cooking and eating local.

BT: Do you think the average person is surprised to learn what actually grows locally in BC?

JO:  I was surprised to learn that you can get local watermelons from the Okanagan in September. I also learned recently that you can get BC maple syrup.  I've found that talking to local producers, you will be amazed by the variety available locally. Our in-season guide is a great resource to learn what is available during the year in each region of the province.  

Thanks Jennifer! For anyone interested, you can find out more about Buy Local. Eat Natural. here. 

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