The third annual We Heart Local Awards began accepting nominations on Monday.

Locals’ choice

The third annual We Heart Local Awards began accepting nominations on Monday.

For the third year in a row, BC residents will vote for their favourite local agricultural-based businesses.

Monday, the We Heart Local Awards began accepting online nominations in 15 categories, including favourite local brewery, favourite farmers’ market, and favourite store to buy local.

The awards were originally started by the BC dairy industry, but were taken over by the BC Agriculture Council (BCAC), which expanded the awards to include all kinds of agricultural products, including meat, poultry, seafood, fruit, veggies, wine, and beer.

It starts to recognize the local businesses, the local agriculture, you know, from farm to table, and it celebrates the entire community’s support for it,” Lorne Hunter, board director of BCAC, said of the program. “It shows the economic, the social, and the environmental sustainability of BC’s agriculture.”

Last year there were close to 350 businesses nominated, and almost 40,000 votes.

People get the moral boost of having their businesses nominated,” said Hunter. “And for those that are doing the nominating and the voting there are some pretty decent prizes to go with it as well.”

Each week there will be a draw for a $100 gift card to the local BC VQA, and the grand prize draw is for a three-night trip for two at the Taku Resort and Marina on Quadra Island. The prize includes a cooking course and a $300 gift card for BC Ferries to get to the island.

So far no business from the Kootenays has won a We Heart Local Award; all the more incentive to nominate your favourite local food grower, producer, supplier or vendor.

Nominations will be open until September 6, and voting will take place September 7 to 14. Visit weheartlocalawards.ca to participate.

This story will appear in the West Kootenay Advertiser the week of Thursday, August 20.