Local vendors who frequently sell their locally made goods at the Fort St. James Farmers’ Market may directly benefit from the new relaunch of the Buy BC program. (Photo/Colin Macgillivray

Buy BC relaunches to ensure local business thrives

Local farmers’ markets may benefit

Buy BC programming is being officially relaunched, under the overarching goal of boosting B.C.’s agriculture industry while also fuelling public interest in shopping for locally made and crafted British Columbia products.

According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Buy BC, which is being delivered in partnership with the British Columbia Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA), was particularly popular with B.C. growers and producers before it was cancelled in the early 2000s.

The idea behind bringing back the brand power of this marketing campaign is that it will ultimately make it easier for British Columbians to discover and try fresh and unique products from around the province.

The relaunch was recently announced by the Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, who was joined by Vickey Brown, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets vice-president and local vendors and market goers in Moss Street Market in Victoria.

“The goal is to connect more British Columbians and visitors with the great food and drinks made right here in B.C.,” said Popham. “When people are making their shopping decisions, we want them to reach for B.C. products.

“Much has changed since the program was cancelled more than a decade ago,” continued Popham. “There are new types of B.C. producers and products that we think British Columbians and visitors will fall in love with. And Buy BC will be instrumental in introducing those products to British Columbians and a global audience.”

The Buy BC Partnership Program involves cost-shared funding that is not only available to agriculture and seafood producers, processors and co-operative across the province, but will also be particularly relevant for industry associations, agricultural fairs and markets within B.C., like the Vanderhoof Farmers’ Market.

For those local vendors who are constantly supplying fresh produce and locally made goods at the Vanderhoof market, the return of the nearly two-decade old program will offer numerous new opportunities.

“We are thrilled to see this support for B.C. farmers, growers and makers of local food that can be found at over 145 community farmers’ markets across the province,” said Wylie Bystedt, the president of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “More and more British Columbians are seeking out unique, local, in-season foods and the Buy BC Partnership Program will make it easier to choose these foods, which is an integral part of ensuring a thriving local food sector in B.C.”

Per information provided in the news release, the Buy BC Partnership Program will provide $2 million in funding per year over the next three years. This funding aims to help eligible applicants with marketing efforts by using the Buy BC logo on their products or promotional materials.

“The Ministry of Agriculture’s three pillars of Grow BC, Feed BC and Buy BC are supporting the province’s agriculture sectors and encouraging British Columbians to choose B.C. products which in turn, support our local farmers and ranchers,” said Stan Vander Waal the president of the BC Agriculture Council. “Placing the Buy BC partnership logo on B.C. products strengthens the local brand and reminds consumers that we grow and raise some of the most trusted and highest-quality product in the world.”

The provincial government’s Buy BC Partnership Program will be administered and carried out by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, per the news release.

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