Nearly 50 farmers and food-related businesses in the Thompson and Shuswap regions have got on the map this year; specifically the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Thompson Shuswap map, which was launched on July 13. Three area farms are among those featured: Horstings Farm Market north of Cache Creek; Desert Hills Ranch in Ashcroft; and Bhumi Farm Organics near Venables Valley.
The map follows in the footsteps of a similar map for the Okanagan region, now in its fourth year. It is an initiative of Buy Local BC, and founder and co-ordinator Shayne Wright says he’s “very excited” to be launching the Thompson Shuswap version. “The Okanagan map has been very well-received.”
He notes that it started four years ago with about the same number of businesses that are in this year’s Thompson Shuswap map, and has grown steadily each year; it now features 75 participants. While he acknowledges that there are lots of local food guides available, the map has several advantages.
“The power of the map is that it’s all on one page. It’s colourful, informative, and easy to read. And while some people like a booklet format, more people like maps than don’t like them.”
Wright said the Buy Local! Buy Fresh! initiative began 14 years ago in Ontario, and has since been licenced out across the country. Wright started it up in the Okanagan as an entrepreneurship venture where he worked with local farms. “I have a background in mapping, business, and marketing, so it was a natural thing for me to do.”
The maps feature some of the region’s very best locally produced food and drinks, and Wright says it plays to both visitors who don’t know the area and residents who want to find out more about local produce. He hopes to have more businesses come on board in the future, and plans to keep doing the map every year.
“Support for the new campaign has been amazing. And there’s lots of room on this first map for growth.”
The Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Thompson Shuswap map is being distributed to visitor centres throughout the area, as well as to participating businesses. It is also available online; visit www.buylocalbc.org.