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So Good, Island Good

When COVID first appeared on Vancouver Island it was evident the need for local goods and a strong supply chain was greater than ever. Our local businesses were remarkable in their ability to respond quickly, adapt and pivot to continue to provide us goods in a safe manner.

The support for Island Good has been amazing and consumers are enjoying the selection of food, beverage and goods Island businesses are providing.

Recently Island Good, Tilly’s Galley shared the news they are now in all the Quality Foods stores. “Our sincere appreciation goes out to all who advocate for our brand!  Thank you to the Island Good team for your continued work to promote local brands both to the retailers and consumers. Having a medium for local suppliers to connect to local retailers is critical in the best of times but even more-so in our current economy.”

Nanoose Edibles Organic Farm admits it has been a challenging and enjoyable year on the farm. “Thankfully we were declared an Essential Service and were able to carry on farming and marketing at our farm produce stand. With the promotion we had received from Island Good and a number of other producer organizations  in the region, our sales held steady and customers were delighted to come to shop at the farm, following the guidelines provided to us from the health authorities.”

What also became clear during this time was the value of supporting local businesses. As Island Good businesses were adapting to continue to provide us goods and keep afloat, they were also taking the time to give back.

We saw Island Good, Wayward Distillery in the Comox Valley, ramp up production of hand sanitizer and spray sanitizer to distribute to people and organizations in need for free. Victoria-based Level Ground launched a “Buy One, Give One” campaign for the month of April and  every time someone bought a bag of coffee from their online store, Level Ground gave a bag of coffee to a food bank in the Greater Victoria area. Cermaq Canada and Grieg Seafood BC donated the equivalent of 86,000 cans of fresh Atlantic salmon to food banks, which were processed and canned at Island Good, St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse in Nanaimo. Fawcett Mattress in Victoria offered up high-quality quilted material from off-cuts of their mattress borders and ticking to any mask makers in the Victoria area. SaltSpring Kitchen Co. collaborated with Fatso to launch the Safety Sandwich Program, which delivered 300 peanut-butter-and-jam sandwiches a week to marginalized populations in Victoria, and the list goes on.

Fundamentally, supporting Island Good ensures a vital and sustainable Island economy. An easy way to identify local goods is to look for the Island Good brand. The Island Good brand, trademarked and licensed by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA), is a place brand to help shoppers easily identify local products (Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands). The Island Good brand is available for any Vancouver Island product from potatoes to airplane parts.

Recently the communities of Campbell River and Cowichan have partnered with VIEA to offer local businesses access to free Island Good licensing for 2020.

Barry O’Riordan, Manager of Economic Development Cowichan stated, “Awareness of the need to support Cowichan and Vancouver Island businesses has come into sharp focus, but identifying Island produced or grown products is no easy task. Economic Development Cowichan is delighted to support Cowichan businesses leverage the Island Good branding to boost sales and support economic recovery in the region.”

“Local businesses do an amazing job of serving our community and enriching our quality of life.  Shopping local means circulating dollars many times between businesses, strengthening our local economy,” says economic development officer Rose Klukas. “Island Good is good for Campbell River. It’s good for the economy, good for jobs and better for the environment.”

Already Discovery Foods, French Creek Collective, Stone House Teas and Fresh Fetch in Campbell River and A & S Microgreens and Blue Grouse Estate Winery in Cowichan have signed on as Island Good licensees, with more to come.

Now as we move into phase 3 in British Columbia it is exciting to see more Island Good businesses welcome people into their establishments. We encourage Islanders and visitors to continue to shop and buy local and look for the Island Good Brand. Choosing local products helps the security and sustainability of our Island and Gulf Island economy. For a list of all the Island Good retailers and goods producers visit islandgood.ca.

Read full article on page 24 of the Summer/Fall 2020 Farm and Garden Magazine.