From now until Thanksgiving we’re celebrating harvest time at VancouverMom.ca, focusing on all things local food. We’ve run articles about foraging and farmers’ markets, and gotten your picks for the best local food in Vancouver. As we all start to gear up for the Thanksgiving feast, we thought we’d share some great resources to help you in your quest to eat local.
We’ve shared posts highlighting four local markets that are part of Vancouver Farmers Markets – Trout Lake, West End and Kitsilano. The farmers’ market goodness isn’t limited to Vancouver, though. There are 125 farmers’ markets here in British Columbia, and you can find one near you using the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets MarketFinder.
Circle Farm Tours
Ever wanted to visit a farm and see where local food actually grows? Circle Farm Tours are a great way to do that. They provide a road map to farm-gate vendors, open air markets, charming eateries, wineries and more. It’s all self-guided, so you travel in your own vehicle at your own pace, making this a very kid-friendly activity. There are currently five tours listed at circlefarmtour.com – Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Agassiz / Harrison Mills. Visit the website to plan your own tour.
Community-supported agriculture – or CSA – is a program that allows you to buy a share in a farm’s harvest. You pay an up-front fee, and then every week during the harvest season you receive a box or bag of fresh veggies, which is your “share”. If the farm does well, your share may be larger than you expected, and if the farm doesn’t, it may be smaller. CSAs may also organize farm visits, work days and other events. This is a way to really participate in the life of a local farm and get your whole family involved in local food production. CSAs aren’t all veggies, either. Some offer grain, honey, meat and other farm goods, and there’s even a local community-supported fishery. Visit Farm Folk/City Folk for a listing of Vancouver-area CSA programs.
Gardening – The Ultimate Local Food
One of the cheapest ways to get local food is to grow it yourself. For the price of a few packets of seeds you can be in carrots and lettuce all summer long. Gardening is also a great activity to do with kids. Plus, there’s no food more local to you than the food grown in your own backyard. It’s too late to start your garden for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. In fact, this is the perfect time to plant garlic. If you’re looking for help getting started, West Coast Seeds in Ladner specializes in certified organic, non GMO, open pollinated and heirloom seeds. Visit their site to request a free catalogue, or to access their gardening resources. If you don’t have the space for a garden, you may want to consider joining a community garden – the City of Vancouver lists all their community gardens, along with contact info for each, on their website.
Restaurants and Retailers
It’s fabulous to visit farms, grow your own produce and participate in community-supported agriculture, but sometimes you just want a nice meal out. Or maybe you want to be able to visit a store that carries everything you need to cook a great meal. If this sounds like you, Get Local BC has you covered. Check out their “Where” tab to find listings for restaurants, grocery stores, delivery services and other businesses that bring local food to you.
What resources do you look to when you’re on the hunt for local food? Please leave a response below!
Amber Strocel is a writer, aspiring math teacher, suburbanite, wife and mom of two. She believes in the power of the Internet to connect people, and she believes that numbers are the poetry of the universe. You can often find her knitting, sewing, volunteering, working in her garden, and sneaking chocolate when no one's looking. She blogs at Strocel.com and shares her photos on Instagram as @AmberStrocel.