In 2015, the Vancouver Local Food Hub (VLFH), www.eatlocal.org, acted as a virtual buying space with twice weekly delivery for commercial buyers across Metro Vancouver seeking to access fresh, local produce in as direct manner as possible. In 2013, FarmFolk CityFolk and the Vancouver Farmers Market partnered with Greenchain Consulting to develop a plan for the oft-requested small-scale distribution service. Consultation with producers, buyers, and community partners led to the launch of the VLFH on May 15th, 2015. In 2016, the Vancouver Local Food Hub changed its name to VFM Direct and is being managed by the Vancouver Farmers Market.
In its pilot year of 2015, the VLFH had six producers from Metro Vancouver and the Okanagan: Taves Family Farm, Sunberry Farm, Rondriso Farm, Parson’s Farm, Crisp Organics, and Gojoy Berries. It provided a mix of products, grown both conventionally and organically, from specialty items like dried goji berries to kitchen staples such as salad greens. Each week, producers updated their offerings and buyers had access to a range of fresh products to be delivered right to the door, twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The process is simple. Commercial buyers created a log-in account on the Vancouver Local Food Hub site, and accessed fresh sheets posted by each producer for one of both of the twice weekly deliveries. Each delivery required a $200 minimum order and arrives by noon of either Tuesday or Friday. In addition to ordering, buyers were encouraged to visit each producer’s page to learn more about the location, composition and growing practices of each farm. The true value of the hub is the ability for buyers to connect directly with growers, strengthening the local food system across British Columbia.
To learn more, visit www.eatlocal.org