Buying local is the best deal

Opinion editorial by Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture

VICTORIA – With the holiday season upon us, I’d like to encourage all British Columbians to celebrate and support our province by buying local products. Whether you’re choosing gifts or purchasing ingredients for Christmas baking or your holiday feast, please celebrate with B.C. foods.

As Canada’s most diverse agricultural province, B.C. is a locavore’s dream. Fresh produce, including apples, potatoes, squash, turnips and vegetables, are all available for the holiday table along with local meats, seafood and eggs. B.C. also produces a huge range of value-added foods, including cereals, crackers, jams, honey, juices, dairy products and much more. Agri-entrepreneurs continue to choose B.C. to achieve their goal of running a business, and their products offer British Columbians everything from artisan crafted foods and gourmet cuisine to delicacies from around the world.

Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key component of government’s plan to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017, and developing the local market for B.C. foods is part of it. The Kootenay region is extra busy this magical time of year as the region accounts for half of the provincial total land for Christmas tree production. The Kootenays also produce cherries and other fruit in addition to artisan food products.

B.C. agrifoods producers are encouraged to apply to our Buy Local program as successful applicants are already receiving funding to help market their products. The passion for local foods in B.C. has never been stronger, and this program supports government’s clear commitment to build local demand and support for B.C. foods.

You can be part of this commitment. This year, please make a conscious effort to buy local. Every dollar you spend in your community stays in the community and helps stimulate our economy.

Your support for local business, farmers and agrifoods producers is a wonderful gift to give.