After another pandemic year plagued by ongoing supply chain issues, wildfires and now devastating floods, a B.C. non-profit says it’s more important than ever to support local businesses, farmers, and manufacturers.
LOCO BC, which uses engagement to raise awareness about the economic and community benefits of independent businesses, said small operations with under fifty employees make up 98 per cent of businesses in our province.
This holiday season, the demand for local products is high at Windsor Quality Meats in Vancouver’s Riley Park shopping district.
“Customers are more mindful to make the choice and ask ‘Hey is this coming from a local supplier?’” said butcher Raul Granucci. “And I’m happy to say ‘yes.’”
Most of Windsor’s cuts come from the flood-ravaged Fraser Valley where Granucci said the supply of some products like poultry, has been disrupted by the disaster.
“I order heavy, maybe get half of what I ask for,” he told Global News.
But unlike the early days of COVID-19 when customers hoarded food and other essentials, Granucci said shoppers are now sharing the limited bounty of items like fresh chicken — and only buying what they need.
B.C.’s agriculture minister has seen a shift through the pandemic and recent flooding, and believes people are thinking about the value of food more – knowing extreme events can suddenly halt the supply chain.
“When we look at food as being precious, we can also look at it being an amazing gift to give,” Lana Popham told Global News.
“If you’re buying something that says it’s produced in British Columbia, in a way that’s going to support that farmer that just has or is still going through that disaster right now.”
Photographer Tina Taphouse is partnering with Meeka Knaiger on a pop-up artisan Christmas market offering locally-made items.
“All of the stuff here is made by us and it’s here, you don’t have to wait for it,” said Taphouse.
The two Indigenous artists are selling paintings, prints, jewelry and crafts – each with a story behind it.
“It’s made with a lot of hard work and love,” Taphouse told Global News.
Recent research from LOCO BC found local products keep up to 92 cents of every dollar recirculating in the local economy, and according to founder and executive director Amy Robinson, the imported and local items compared had very similar price points.
“If it does cost more I’d like consumers to ask themselves — at what cost to the environment, at what cost to local jobs,” said Robinson.
“Paying a little bit more for something that’s locally-grown, locally-made from a locally-owned business supports your friends and neighbours.”
Granucci said it allows him to pay his staff a good wage and support everyone down the chain.
“I can pay the suppliers what they need so they can maintain their business as well as the distributors’ job which help us bring the product from the Fraser Valley to our dinner plates here in the city.”