Island Good – Oasis Article Fall 2021
September 2021 / By: Diana
Source: Oasis Magazine | Fall 2021| page 26
As Relationship & Business Development Manager for Island Good, Suzanne Hedges is both their representative and most enthusiastic champion. Launched in 2018, Island Good is a non-government, grassroots campaign that, through branding, helps consumers easily find and buy goods that are made, grown, or produced on Vancouver Island.
A few years ago the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) decided to serve only foods made or grown on Vancouver Island at a luncheon. It seemed simple enough but turned into a scavenger hunt as the VIEA shoppers combed the shelves of local grocery stores looking for lsland grown or produced food products.
From that hunt an idea was born: to create a campaign to help residents and tourists alike easily find locally sourced products. What began as a six-month pilot program for food products has grown to include 170 local businesses promoting their Vancouver Island products.
Q: Who can join Island Good?
A: Initially Island Good focused on food products, but we’ve since grown to include artisans, manufacturers, makers, agri-tourism, and processors — we want it to be inclusive. Anyone who is making something — from potatoes to airplane parts — deserves to have that amplified and be part of the Island Good brand. Our membership and campaign covers the Island from tip to tip and includes all of the Gulf Islands.
Q: What are the benefits to joining Island Good?
A: The Island Good brand and distinctive labelling makes it easy to identify local products. By increasing awareness for Island products businesses see increased sales of their own products. Even more importantly, Island Good has created a sense of community for producers. We have such abundance here on the Island and being part of the same collective brings us all together.
Island Good has given businesses a place to find one another and has become a way of keeping community threads together. In a way we provide the collective emotion and passion piece — a common sense of pride for where we live and what we produce.
Q: How do members leverage the Island Good brand?
A: The Island Good brand is a good digital strategy for businesses — it’s tested and it’s recognizable. Even by simply using it in their communications, social media, and emails it can start questions and become an educational and empowerment tool. We give our members stickers for their packaging and shelf talkers for them to include in their shipments to retailers.
Since we are membership/stakeholder-driven we work to grow and improve what we do collectively as a community. Our initiatives come from where our members need our support. The brand is theirs; they tell us how they want to build on it. The resonating message from our members has been that Island Good has created community — a place to share resources, ideas, and stories.
Q: What’s ahead for Island Good?
A: The silver lining of the past year has been an increased awareness and support of local businesses. People want to support and connect with the producers and makers where they live or visit. I believe that this is more than a lifestyle trend. It’s a movement. With Island Good we’re leveraging that interest and demand through creating more visible use of our branding for consumers to see. We’re looking for increased support from retailers to display and promote the brand in stores through feature displays and in-store sampling events.
We also want to reach out to more community leaders and local credit unions across the Island to support their local makers and producers by helping them become a part of Island Good. We’re also working to keep the connection to our makers year-round, after the farmers market and tourist season is over.
We’d like to organize Island Good Days and an expo for Island Good members. Energy is our best currency and will continue to move us forward. Island Good is a way of looking towards one another instead of away from another.
I’d love to see Island Good become the heartbeat that’s supporting local and making a difference – like flying our Island flag!
Read the original article here.