Island farmers say pandemic is boosting buy-local movement 

Island farmers say pandemic is boosting buy-local movement 
WatchThe farm-to-table movement was already here, pre-pandemic, but COVID-19 may actually giving a big boost to the buy-local movement.

A pint of locally grown Saanichton strawberries at Dan’s Farm & Country Market may be one of the sweetest signs of summer.

Farmers are facing migrant worker shortages and smaller orders coming from restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, they say the pandemic is actually helping to foster the buy-local movement.

“I think it’s been a little bit more than normal for sure,” said Dan Ponchet, owner of Dan’s Farm & Country Market.

“That’s what we need. I want the next generation of our family to be able to make a go of this too. So we need to show them that it is viable, and can make a good living from this if you put the effort into it.”

For Dan, the legacy he hopes to leave is the third generation of Vancouver Island farmers from his family.

And that is one of the many reasons Islanders are buying local.

Eating local also means more money staying within the community. Local produce is also fresher and more nutritious. It’s usually picked that day and allowed to ripen naturally.

And the list goes on. Buying locally produced food means less waste, less plastic, and of course means more local jobs.

With 70 plus farms on Vancouver Island, the power to keep them is in Islanders’ hands.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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