Buy B.C. program will continue without the financial support of the B.C. government
There are a lot of compelling reasons to buy food that is grown, gathered, raised or caught in B.C.
The main reason is that it doesnt have as far to travel to your dinner table, and as a result its a lot fresher.
It keeps your money in the province, which in turn helps to make B.C. more self-supporting.
It supports local farmers, keeping our rural areas alive and well, saving farms and reducing the need for subsidies.
You could also argue that the quality of B.C. food is superior, and thats all there is to it.
Sometimes its also more economical to buy locally grown products, if not at grocery stores then at the popular farmers markets around the province.
While there are no shortage of reasons to buy B.C. products, until 1993 there was often no way to tell where the products in your local grocery stores came from.
With B.C. farmers losing market share to other countries where the cost of production was cheaper, the agricultural community and the province teamed up to create the Buy B.C Program.
Meat and produce had to be caught, raised or grown entirely within the province to bear the Buy B.C. sticker. There were ground rules for other products that have more than one ingredient as to how much B.C. content was required before they could also wear a Buy B.C. label.
Today more than 1,200 companies are registered to use the Buy B.C. logo on packaging, advertising, trucks, promotional materials and restaurant menus. Over 4,500 different food products are identified with the Buy B.C. logo and more than 250 grocery stores and 219 liquor distribution outlets participate in the merchandising program. The B.C. Cuisine program, which certifies restaurants that use B.C. ingredients whenever possible, has more than 700 participants.
It turned out that patriotic B.C.ers were willing to pay a little more to support their local farmers, fishermen, ranchers, processors and distillers, and would actively seek out B.C. products.
Now that the Buy B.C. program is a success, the provincial government is in the process of cutting funding.
On July 4, 2001, the Liberal government took the agricultural industry by surprise when announced that they believed the Buy B.C. Program was strong enough to be controlled by the private sector.
A transition team was created to offload the responsibility for this initiative, and in the coming weeks the B.C. Agriculture Council (BCAC) will be running the show.