On this Part III of the "Co-operatives: Alternatives to Industrial Food" series, we look at the Islands Good Food Initiative and the Heritage Foodservice Co-operative. The co-operative is looking to reclaim greater control over the regional food system on Vancouver Island. Once producing 85% of the food consumed on the Island, Vancouver Island now only produces less than 10% of the food consumed! The Island represents an important window into the future of food security in North American communities.
This new co-operative will challenge the common supply chain model whereby farmers most often receive the short end of the stick, and replace it with what is known as a value chain. Within a value chain, every link is ensured a fair price of that final food dollar. The Heritage Foodservice Co-operative will look to connect farmers with labour, with processing and packing facilities, with transportation/distribution and with institutional food purchasers (restaurants, colleges, public facilities, etc.). Is this a model for other communities to adopt?
Sandra Mark and Frank Moreland, Edible Strategies Enterprises (Fanny Bay, BC) - A small consulting group working with partners to develop approaches to relocalize the food system. They offer a variety of services to enterprising non-profit organizations and co-operatives. Edible Strategies has been integral in the creation of the business plan for the Heritage Foodservice Co-operative.
Karin Lengger, General Manager - Vancouver Island, SPUD (Small Potatoes Urban Delivery) (Victoria, BC) - In business since 1998, SPUD is Canada's largest organic grocery home delivery service. The business serves over 6000 customers in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria, Vancouver Island, Calgary and Seattle. SPUD is committed to protecting the environment by buying local, organic, minimally packaged, and eco-friendly products.
Bill Code, President, Island Farmers Alliance (Duncan, BC) - The IFA is an alliance of farmers on Vancouver Island and surrounding islands who work to ensure the sustainability and growth of Island agriculture by promoting local foods and farmers.
Graham Morry, Executive Director, Nanaimo Associaiton for Community Living (NACL) (Nanaimo, BC) - NACL supports and advocates for citizens with developmental disabilities and the people that care for them by promoting inclusion through various residential and community opportunities, activities, and services. They currently operate seven residences and a day program in the Nanaimo area. They also provide respite care and community respite by referral.
Marjorie Stewart, Chair, Nanaimo Foodshare (Nanaimo, BC) - Whether they're developing small-scale businesses, teaching a canning workshop, or distributing locally grown produce through the Good Food Box program, Foodshare helps people develop the skills they need to increase food security, build community, and be self-sufficient. Through programs, workshops, and community networks, their aim is to educate and empower by sharing not just food -- but also information, resources, workloads, and new opportunities.
James Street, President, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association (Courtenay, BC) - Founded in 1979 to represent chefs and cooks from Bowser to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, the Association is a branch of the Canadian Culinary Federation. Their goals are to promote culinary excellence, aid the growth and development of the industry, and provide a network for membership.