How it Works
There's a lot of talk about how locally grown food is better for your health, better for the environment, and the right choice to support BC farmers and producers and the BC economy. But how can we find local products?
Our Get Local site powered by Soil Mate helps local producers market their products directly to a wide range of consumers and provides an easy way for consumers to "Get Local".
Local produce is the freshest produce you can buy. It is picked when it is fully ripe and delivered to you quicker than produce imported from another province, country, or continent. Imported produce is often "gassed" to create a pleasing, healthy appearance.
Choosing local food contributes to our provincial economy and helps BC’s 20,000 farms stay in business. When we buy a local food product, the producer receives a higher percentage of our food dollar (and at a farmers’ market or on-farm store, 100%!) This money is then circulated many times throughout our communities, strengthening our local economies. How does this happen?
The very soil that food is grown on is vital to BC’s agricultural economy. Eating locally grown food supports our farmers and protects our precious farmland by keeping it in production. We need to protect our farmland from development and we need to “grow” farmers. In British Columbia, the median age of a farmer in 2007 was 57 years. This means that many farmers are set to retire in the near future and viable opportunities are needed to engage the next generation into succession. It is crucial that market demand for locally grown food is strong enough to encourage a new crop of farmers and that they are able to confidently grow for the domestic market. Can we really do this?
Soil Mate believes that it is essential to all aspects of health, community and sustainability that we reconnect with the origins of our food and drink, and understand how and where it is grown, and by whom. The message is simple: know your farmer, know your food.
Soil Mate launched in May 2014 with Farms and Farmers’ Markets. It took just 6 months for Soil Mate to have listings in every state in the US and every province in Canada. With thousands of listings, and thousands of consumers using the site each week to find local food and drink producers. Early in 2015 Soil Mate expanded its system to allow the listing and connection of locally sourcing stores and restaurants, associations, wineries, breweries, and other drink categories. In February 2015, Soil Mate was named the winner of 'Best Concept in BC' out to the provinces 50,000+ small business.
Farmers, Stores, Restaurants and food producers can create a free account on the Get Local site which will quite literally put there operation on the map. Once registered they can list products they sell and services they offer, including Farmstays and CSAs. Shoppers can browse for free. They can search for services in their area or search for specific products or services.
The SoilMate team promotes the site at events across the province and the GetLocal brand has a strong web presence on Google and other search engines to provide great exposure for sellers.
Also see our listing of other great EAT LOCAL initiatives throughout the province.