Where We Live
The Kootenay region of British Columbia has a rich farming history and diverse agricultural production that includes tree fruit, berries, vegetables, poultry, beef, dairy (cow, goat and sheep), and greenhouse production. The First Nations people of the area, followed by newcomers from many different countries have, over the centuries, contributed their knowledge and skills to work with the climate and resources of the region to supply the food needs of its inhabitants. As recently as the middle of the last century, much of the food consumed here was also grown or raised here, either wild or cultivated.
By the end of the twentieth century this self-reliance had changed dramatically and, currently, as much as 95% of the food consumed in our region is imported. This is due to several reinforcing factors. Improvements in transportation to and within the region have facilitated the importation of food and other goods. The flooding of the Columbia Basin with the building of several dams in the region in the 1960s meant the loss of much prime agricultural land as well as the loss of wildlife habitat and grazing lands for livestock. Economies of scale traditionally associated with large scale production are simply not possible, nor desirable in a mountainous region where agriculture is, by necessity, small scale. It can also be a challenge to ensure that local government policy supports and does not hinder agriculture since the primary economic drivers of the region have historically been resource extraction-based (forestry and mining).
However, with increased consumer awareness of issues relating to food access and safety, the demand for local farm products has been on a steady increase for the past decade. Area residents are seeking out local food and both independent and chain grocers have become more receptive to supporting and promoting local agricultural products. With regional food sales (Kootenay and Boundary) estimated in excess of $150 million there is a great, untapped market close at hand for our region's farmers and other food producers.
Why Buy Local Produce?