Buying B.C. products has many benefits

These days there is a growing movement to buy local food

These days there is a growing movement to buy local food. Aside from environmental benefits and support for the local economy, there is something so rewarding about biting into a juicy peach at the peak of the season, purchased from a farmer who lives down the road.

But for an organization the size of Interior Health, which provides about five million meals each year across 55 sites, buying local isn’t such a simple matter. Food safety is key, logistics are a challenge, and the financial implications must be weighed.

Still, leaders within Interior Health believe it is important to buy fresh local food and support the local agricultural industry.

“We have been working steadily with suppliers to take advantage of all the great food that is grown, produced and processed right here in B.C.,” says Interior Health Regional Director of Support Services Alan Davies. “We use as much locally grown produce as possible in our care homes and hospitals, plus cheeses, herbs, sausages, and more. We also highlight locally grown foods on our cafeteria menus, such as Armstrong carrots. We try to purchase as many fresh fruits and vegetables in season as possible. Overall, there has been a shift within Interior Health’s Food Services to provide fresher meals, with less sodium and using sustainable, green practices in our kitchens.”

“We’re always looking at new areas in which we can purchase locally. I would estimate that about 25 per cent of the produce we buy is locally grown, depending on seasonal availability. If you include bread and dairy, I would say about 30 per cent of all our food is purchased from within B.C.,” says Davies.

Interior Health works closely with food distribution company Sysco Kelowna to ensure food is not only of good quality and locally sourced when possible, but also that strict food safety measures are in place.

“If a recall occurs, we can have every customer notified within a two to three hour period,” says Sysco Kelowna Account Executive Ryan Thiessen.

Sysco only buys products from farmers who are certified GAP (Good Agricultural Practice). These GAP codes, standards and regulations have been developed by the international food industry, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide consistent food safety and quality standards as well as meet requirements for certain trade needs and niche markets.

“Over the years, more co-ops have been established and more farmers are signing on to GAP, so we can take advantage of those items being available,” says Thiessen. “We can pretty much guarantee a B.C. apple about eight months out of the year.”

Growers such as Kelowna-based Angelo De Simone and his son Pierre are an important part of that supply.

“It’s very good to see more people interested in buying local food, including large organizations like Interior Health. It means fewer greenhouse gas emissions and support for family-run farms like ours,” De Simone says.

“We are doing what we can and we encourage others in the community to look at their own purchases. B.C. has so much to offer in terms of buying locally produced food,” says Davies.


Just Posted

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

(TNRD Library)
Let the mystery of the Summer Reading Club begin

Are you ready to ‘Crack the Case’ at the Barriere Library?

(Metro Creative photo)
Gardeners of all ages invited to enter 2021 NT Fall Fair contests

The North Thompson Fall Fair Drive Thru scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 4,… Continue reading

Milsom Lodge was built in the East Barriere Valley when the Milsom brothers purchased two parcels of land in 1911, DL 2323 and DL2324. (Milsom’s photo)
The Milsom Lodge: The mansion, the ballroom, the history

“At the turn of the century, when so many families were leaving… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read