Tag Archives: NOW BC

Food Co-operative Helps Build Food System

NOW BC Co-opI view access to a variety of local and “more local” food sources as an important part of building and strengthening our food systems at a grass roots level. (Like any product, if you don’t know it exists or where to get it, you can’t buy it. That means you can’t support the farmer, who may have to stop producing it, so now your only option is to get it from far away places… It’s a downward spiral.)

When my fellow community gardener Daryl told me about NOW BC, a member-owned food co-operative that operates within Metro Vancouver, BC, I asked him how he got involved.

“My initial reason for joining NOW BC was that I know the guy who started it. But besides that, there are several other strong reasons:

  1. It’s a co-op where members have a say in how it’s run and share in its success. This means that profit isn’t a primary motive like other businesses.
  2. Delivery ‘clubs’ allow fellow members within neighbourhoods to meet and form ‘community’ around the important topic of local and organic food. Individual delivery can’t do this. One club has started a ‘two-block diet’ network where they all grow food in their yards to share with each other.
  3. And, prices are cheaper than other organic delivery services.

Plus, I think it’s important to support local organic farmers so they can continue to make a good living.”

If you want to be a part of the NOW BC network, find a delivery depot in your neighbourhood or start your own.

Organic, Local Food Delivery

NOW BC Co-opOne of the biggest challenges to eating more locally is sourcing the food. I’m not a rabid locavore — I love a good latte and savour chocolate on a regular basis, and those habits are not likely to change anytime soon.

I do, however, want the option to eat food from sources closer than farther.

I want to be able to choose the nearer farmer, which might mean a neighbouring province over another continent, rather than limiting my food choices to a strictly limited radius. (Given the state of our food systems, a 100 mile diet a great goal to aim toward, but not attainable at the moment.)

I was very interested to learn of NOW BC from a fellow community gardener. NOW BC is an organic, member-owned food co-operative whose mission is “to build a sustainable local food system by connecting local farms and processors with consumers and building community around sustainable food choices.”

In search of other than the usual fruit and vegetables, browsing the NOW BC product catalogue I find unbleached flour from Chilliwack, lentils from Saskatchewan (and you thought they only produced wheat), hazelnuts from BC, and whole wheat macaroni from Alberta.

You can make a purchase without a membership, food is organic wherever possible, and your purchase is delivered to a depot in your neighbourhood for pick up, keeping costs more reasonable and sustainable. Think of it as an expanded farmers market — those SK lentils might not make it to the Kits Farmers Market on Sunday, but you’ll still be supporting farmers and strengthening our ability to trace where our food has come from.

Now wouldn’t it be even more cool if the bakery at the weekly market made their bread with flour from Chilliwack?