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Pat Pimm helping greenhouse growers educate shoppers about B.C. produce:

Canada: B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association receives Buy Local funding

B.C Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm joined others at the West Coast Vegetables Ltd. in Ladner last Thursday to announce the B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association is receiving $100,0000 in Buy Local funding to help consumers identify local greenhouse grown produce. Part of the government's Agrifoods Strategy, the funding will be matched by the greenhouse association, which plans to launch a campaign next spring.

"We're not going to get into a major discussion comparing one country with another country, but what we want to make sure is that the folks coming into store have the opportunity to know they're buying a British Columbia product," Pimm told the Optimist.

Linda Delli Santi, executive director of the B.C. Greenhouse Growers Association, said her group has already hired a consulting firm for the marketing project.

"We want to highlight the positive attributes of greenhouse vegetable production. A lot of people drive by these greenhouses and see the whitewash on the wall and wonder what's inside there. We want to educate them that it's good, nutritious vegetables."

Also joining Pimm, who toured several South Delta farms, as well as took part in a helicopter flyover, at West Coast Vegetables were Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and councillors Ian Paton and Scott Hamilton, municipal CAO George Harvie, as well as Delta Farmers' Institute president Dave Ryall and longtime farmer Peter Guichon.

Brothers Ray and Ron VanMarrewyc gave a tour of their large, complex operation, a 35-acre business that is planning a major expansion, including the addition of a co-generation facility. The family business specializes in peppers and other vegetables. Most of the region's greenhouses are located in Delta, said the VanMarrewycs, noting it's due in large part to ample flat terrain and much-needed sunshine.

The tour group had a lively conversation on what's needed to get shoppers to buy B.C. produce, which in many cases is higher in quality, including taste and shelf life, than products trucked up from other places such as Mexico.

Noting she would certainly pay a little more for a higher quality local product if it were clearly identified on store shelves, Jackson suggested that only local vegetables be distributed to B.C. hospitals, including Delta Hospital.

Source : delta-optimist.com

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