Virtual market connects farmers, consumers
Published Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:10PM PDT
A new online farmers market is making it simple to eat healthy organic foods and support local producers at the same time.
Joanna Michal is a stay at home mother-of-three, whose interest in organic food was born around the same time as her first child.
"It really makes you think hard about the food choices that you're making when you're feeding this brand new person," she said.
So neighbours make a pilgrimage to Joanna's house once a week to pick up a fresh supply of locally grown produce, milk and other prepared goods, as part of a virtual farmers market called NOW BC.
You pick your products online and then go to a nearby neighbourhood depot to collect them.
Local growers drop their freshly grown produce at an East Vancouver warehouse where it's sorted and packaged for individual depots.
Executive director Kirsty Dick says there's something big that you can get with them that you won't find at your local grocery store: peace of mind.
"We really value our relationships that we've made with local producers and growers and so a lot of our stuff is farm direct -- so what you get is good quality produce from producers that we know and trust," she said.
In addition to fruits and veggies, the co-op also offers members a variety of prepared foods, dairy and meat.
"Pretty much anything you want for three meals a day we offer on our catalogue," Dick said.
The program recently launched a sustainable seafood program that costs around $30 a week providing members with locally sourced salmon, cod, halibut and stripe prawns.
The co-op's mission statement is to build a community around food -- connecting people with local producers, growers, and other like minded consumers, like depot host Joanna Michal.
"I really enjoy it," she said. "I've met a lot of my neighbours this way. I've learned how to make kale chips from one of them. I've learned how to compost."
The NOW BC co-op started in 2008 and has around 25 food depots in Vancouver, North Vancouver and Burnaby. The groceries are delivered 52 weeks a year.
It is cheaper and more efficient to buy foods from far away through one big wholesaler, but the co-op model believes in tasty, naturally grown food grown with a focus on nutrients, flavour, and healthy sustainable farmland.
Click here for more information on NOW BC.
Watch CTV tonight for a full report from Lynda Steele, and an insider look at this unique marketplace…