Okanagan Fruit gets marketing boost

The agricultural sector in B.C. got a huge boost this week with the provincial government announcing the return of a buy local program.

The agricultural sector in B.C. got a huge boost this week with the provincial government announcing the return of a buy local program, supporting producers, co-operatives and other aspects of the industry.

In the Okanagan, one of the biggest beneficiaries of the program is likely to be fruit growers, along the Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative and their marketing arm, B.C. Tree Fruits.

“It is already on our radar,” said Chris Pollock, marketing manager at B.C. Tree Fruits. They have already begun planning an application to the program, aimed at continuing their promotion of their brand in the province.

They are not likely alone, as campaigns under the program can promote B.C. food, seafood, agricultural products, agritourism, and include in-store promotions, social media or web campaigns, traditional advertising and on-product labelling. The funding, however, is only available for promoting B.C. products within B.C. — all applicants must have a head office or be registered in B.C.

“Obviously B.C. is right inside of our wheelhouse in terms of our primary marketplace,” said Pollock. “It’s definitely something we can take advantage of as a co-op. It gives us some additional funding from the B.C. government to help promote the growers and the fruit that we grow in the Okanagan to the rest of the province.”

Pollock expects to see a resurgence of certain groups that see this as additional funding for them.

“Anything we can do to promote B.C. products to the rest of  B.C., I think is a positive,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to take advantage of that and continue our push of promoting our brand in B.C.”

Glen Lucas, general manager of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association, which has been lobbying for a return of the buy local program, said they are already working with the co-op and B.C. Tree Fruits, offering to co-operate any way they can.

“We are very pleased with the start of the program,” said Lucas, adding that the new program has some criteria making it easier for an association or a co-operative to apply.

“We think that helps strengthen agricultural organizations,” he continued. “It is possible for private companies to participate but they would have to partner with other parts of the value chain. That could be like a retailer partnering with a couple of producers, or maybe including a co-op association in that pairing would work as well.”

The buy local program will offer applicants matching funds from $5,000 to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns. Eligible organizations include associations, co-operatives, marketing boards, aboriginal groups, companies and non-profit organizations. The province has dedicated a total of $2 million to the program.

“Since being appointed minister, I have been meeting with farmers and food processors in communities right across our province, and I have been hearing some great ideas,” said Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick. “Now is the time to turn those ideas into new dollars for local food producers.”

Lucas said buy local could help growers work with a health district or a regional district to get local products into their system.

“They would probably have to involve a partner, like some agricultural organizations or producers. I think most of the initiative will come from growers and their associations and co-ops,” said Lucas. “They made it very clear in the parameters that it is driven by industry and that is great.”

“It does give us an opportunity to drive home the benefits of B.C. tree fruits and the history of the co-op; who we are and what we are made of, the fruit that our growers grow,” said Pollock. “It is exciting stuff to see the government step up and provide some additional funding for us to really  promote our brand and our fruit.”


Just Posted

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
Donors who gave $1M to Central Okanagan grads want to send positive message

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

An Armstrong family that lost their home to a fire on Wednesday still hasn’t found their cat as of Friday, June 18, 2021. (Facebook photo)
Family cat still missing, days after fire destroys Armstrong home

There were no injuries from Wednesday’s blaze, but two days later there’s still no sign of the white feline

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

Emergency crews responded to Highway 97 after a motorcycle incident. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Motorcyclist taken to hospital after collision on Highway 97

It is not known the extent of their injuries

Most Read