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Celebrating all that’s Island Good

March 5, 2020
By Jennifer Blyth/Black Press Media

Vancouver Islanders are so passionate about their locally grown, raised and produced products that they now have a special day to celebrate them!

Island Good Day is coming up June 13 – a chance to meet, test, try and sample all manner of Island products.

And the people behind the products? You can meet them too!

“We invite everyone to come down to the store and shake the hand of a farmer,” says Tammy Averill, Country Grocer Marketing Manager.

Island Good Day is just another example of a growing interest in locally grown and produced products.

“It’s growing,” says George Hanson, president of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, which oversees the Island Good program.

Today, 35 licensees are using the Island Good label – everyone from Fawcett Mattress in Victoria to St. Jean’s Cannery in Nanaimo to Hertel Meats in Port Alberni, and of course, Country Grocer!

“We’re really excited with the response to Island Good and we encourage people to look for Island Good products wherever they’re shopping,” George says.

Expanding beyond food products, today Island Good brand includes “everything from potatoes to airplane
parts,” George says.

At the Comox Airport, another Island Good member, gift shop visitors will now easily see which items are locally made.

And that was the founding concept behind the initiative: “If we make it easy for consumers to identify local products, they’ll respond,” George says.

“People are predisposed to buy Island products but outside of a farmers’ market, it can be difficult to identify them.”

That was borne out with the program’s six-month pilot project,which had participating grocers identify Island  products on store shelves.

The result? An average uptick of 16.4 per cent in the sale of goods identified as Island Good!

Why is it important to support Island food producers, and other local businesses?

For some it’s the importance of knowing where their food came from – being able to shake that hand of the farmer – for others, it’s food security; the more we produce here, the less dependent we are on others. That means we’re in a better position in the case of an emergency, and our environmental footprint is smaller, as products grown on our doorstep don’t require transporting thousands of kilometres.

But there are economic reasons, too.

According to the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance, for example, every one per cent increase in sales of local products equals 50 jobs.

The Island Good team is also excited to see the Association for Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities commit to serving Island products at their April conference, following the lead of VIEA, which in 2018 committed to serving only Island Good food and beverage at the annual Economic Summit.

“We’re always happy to help local groups or organizations plan to showcase Island Good products,” George says.

To learn more about how to make more of your shopping Island Good, head to your local Country Grocer June 13, or visit online at islandgood.ca.

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