VANCOUVER - The B.C. government is investing $2 million to help B.C. farmers and food processors promote local foods, Agriculture Minister Don McRae announced.
The funding will allow local businesses and organizations to launch or expand their own marketing campaigns, so different sectors of B.C.'s diverse food industry can use customized promotions specific to their market and needs. It is anticipated the funding will be particularly helpful to small-scale producers and businesses looking to promote their products.
Businesses and organizations will be able to apply for matching funding from the provincial government for projects that promote local foods. Projects could include in-store promotions, social media or web campaigns, smartphone apps, traditional advertising, on-product labelling and food-tourism maps. Producers, stores, farmers markets, restaurants, processors and industry associations all will be eligible to participate.
Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government's Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the B.C. Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
Audio clips of McRae speaking on the announcement are available for broadcast at:
- Building the passion for local foods in British Columbia: http://soundcloud.com/bcgov/minister-don-mcrae-building
- B.C. government partners with industry to promote local foods: http://soundcloud.com/bcgov/minister-don-mcrae-b-c
Minister of Agriculture Don McRae -
"Our government has long-supported local producers of foods and food products by lowering taxes and cutting needless red tape. Today we're taking the next step in promoting local foods by supporting industry-led marketing campaigns. B.C.'s diverse food producers were clear in their message to government that they want the freedom to promote their products as they see best, without the restrictions of a one-size-fits-all Buy BC-type program."
"This funding will support about 50 different campaigns throughout our province, and each one will celebrate and promote the distinct flavours of local products while at the same time increasing business opportunities and growth for B.C.'s 61,000-employee agrifoods sector."
BC Agriculture Council chair, Rhonda Driediger -
"More British Columbians want to access local food, but do not always know how to find it. This program will encourage innovative communication tools to creatively market B.C. agriculture and food products, helping people access fresh and healthy local foods while building the market for B.C. producers."
A backgrounder with additional quotes follows.
Ministry of Agriculture
Aug. 30, 2012 Ministry of Agriculture
Promoting B.C. Foods
Of the $2 million, $1.5 million will be administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation and $500,000 will be administered by the British Columbia Agriculture Council.
Applications for either fund will be reviewed by an Industry Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from B.C.'s diverse farming, manufacturing, seafood, restaurant and retail sector. Final approval will come from a panel with representation from the Ministry of Agriculture, the B.C. Agriculture Council and the Investment Agriculture Foundation.
Applications and program information will be posted at: www.gov.bc.ca/agri/buylocal.html
BC Association of Farmers' Markets president, Jon Bell -
"The last ten years have seen a huge rise in the popularity of farmers' markets and the demand for local foods throughout our province. The support for B.C.'s more than 125 farmers' markets to further their unique relationships with their customers is great news, and will build on the momentum and appreciation B.C. consumers have for fresh and local foods."
BC Food Processors Association president, Dave Eto -
"We welcome this initiative. Not only will it create value for our small-scale members, but it will also help food manufacturers and retailers access opportunities to stimulate market growth, while helping to educate consumers on the origin of their food."
BC Restaurant & Foodservices Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson -
"The trend towards local is not just a trend - it is a necessary component to a healthy economy and healthy living. These projects will help B.C. restaurants promote our high quality chefs and high quality foods, and help meet our customers increasing interest and enjoyment of B.C. foods."
BC Seafood Alliance, executive director, Christina Burridge -
"British Columbia is blessed with a wealth of sustainable seafood resources. Commercial fishermen support this program to identify and promote local food products and look forward to participating."
British Columbia Wine Institute executive director, Miles Prodan -
"This program presents wonderful opportunities for B.C. wineries to increase the awareness about BC VQA wines, their award winning tastes, and the community benefits from purchasing a guaranteed 100 per cent B.C. wine."
Retail Council of Canada vice-president of sustainability, Allen Langdon -
"We applaud the government for providing this marketing support, which will reinforce our efforts to promote locally grown products. Retailers in B.C. and all across Canada make enormous contributions to their local economies, and remain committed to working with B.C. growers and producers. This is a win-win for everyone involved."
Small Scale Food Processors Association, executive director, Candice Appleby -
"Our members produce an incredible range of foods that are enjoyed by consumers who appreciate attention to flavouring and artisan quality. Our customers are very supportive of local foods and businesses and this program offers small-scale processors the opportunity to personally connect with them to promote their products."
Ministry of Agriculture