Our Local Markets

Our Local Markets

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Last Update: March 12, 2013

Susan RothSusan RothFounder

Our solution provides the road map to revitalizing food production in rural communities in British Columbia.

Type: for profit

The Problem

According to BC STATS (2010), in terms of health problems, Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) ranked the second “worst-off” region in the province. When it comes to economic hardship, ACRD is fourth from the bottom. This region is facing tough socio-economic problems. In order to improve health, people need to eat more nutritious food. Food that is grown locally is fresh and that means it tastes better and is more nutritious. Buying locally produced food improves health and is good for the local economy. Many local farmers are facing tough economic times. They are good at growing food but often do not have the resources to market and distribute their products. Many food producers have expressed a need for affordable marketing and distribution.

The Solution

Our solution is to provide local farmers and food producers with affordable, high-impact marketing and distribution services. Our solution offers the following benefits: It gives consumers direct access to fresh, affordable, nutritional, and tasty food; It supports local food producers; It retains local jobs; It benefits the local economy; It strongly encourages local trade; It increases awareness of locally grown food; It reduces food miles; and it offers food producers room for better pricing. Our business model would work in most any community as a for-profit business, non-profit organization, social enterprise, or co-operative venture. Our solution has a character similar to a traditional co-op approach and an ethos of a social enterprise. Revitalizing community economies by investing in local food is the first step towards taking more control of our future.

Example

Our solution works much the same as a traditional farmer's market except almost all business would be conducted on the Internet -- it's an online farmer's market and distribution service. Local food producers would showcase their products on our website, then once a sale is made, we would pick up the products directly from the food producer and deliver them fresh to the consumer. Essentially, we would be the marketing and distribution arm for food producers. Food would be categorized on the website in the following manner: fruits and vegetables, cereals and grains, bakery, eggs, maple syrup, jams and jellies, honey, fresh herbs & spices, beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish, and specialty food boxes. Products would also be categorized according to the farm where they were produced. Organic farming and other appealing farming practices would be emphasized. Products would also be categorized to meet different health concerns, e.g. gluten-free. People are becoming more conscious of the environmental impacts of their purchases. We are committed to using Eco-friendly marketing and distribution practices. Bicycles would be used regularly to deliver free product samples and information about products directly to the consumer's home. In-person contact through the delivery and marketing functions are essential for capturing consumer’ attention, creating positive emotions, and building relationships and networks.

Budget: $10,000 - $50,000

Marketplace

Utilizing the Internet to market food is a relatively new idea. Two similar business models exist that serve the south end of Vancouver Island and both are focussed on "certified organic food." Our focus is different as it is placed on "locally grown and produced food." Our services are available to all local food producers. No other business offers all Central Vancouver Island farmers and food producers an e-commerce website to market their products. We will place a special focus on common health problems through specially designed food boxes, e.g. a box containing low-sugar fruit and vegetables to help manage diabetes. No other on-line market has this focus.

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Need

I studied business administration in university and understand return on investment however I find it very difficult to determine the social return on investment. Any help in this regard would be appreciated.

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