All right, get ready, make sure you don’t read this on an empty stomach, lots of food talk coming up.
In Rock Creek we met Dwight, who is cycling to Ontario. We kept running into him along the way, like at this little shack – OK Fruit and Dale’s Honey shop:
We bought delicious honey, orange honey marmalade, and chokecherry jam for very cheap. Dale was nowhere to be seen so after searching for a money box for a while, we finally deposited the money in a little ceramic container. Hope you find it, Dale!
Dwight was really excited to see the little shop. He told us how years ago, he was a vegan and animal rights activist, but since moving to the Cowichan on Vancouver Island he has given it up. There, he had a choice: to buy processed, GMO soy products from overseas, or to go across the street and buy meat, dairy, or fruit and vegetables from his neighbours. He now prefers to buy from people he knows, but that means, he’s not vegan and not even vegetarian.
In Grand Forks we couchsurfed with Nancy, who works at the Kettle Valley Food Co-op. The co-op is just starting up: after two years they have 160 members (of 4000 people living in Grand Forks), and Nancy is their first paid employee. The co-op links the farmer directly to the consumer, promoting the local economy and providing its members with the opportunity to buy locally grown and produced food.
Nancy not only works for the co-op, but also fully supports it. Her fridge is packed with amazingly tasty local products (aren’t we the luckiest guests?!). She is also very conscious about buying organic, which is much easier when you know your farmers as many of them grow organic foods and veggies, but are not certified because the certification is quite expensive.
The co-op is still establishing itself: they are working to get more members and vendors. As the co-op grows, Nancy believes it will encourage local farmers to grow crops year-round, and to develop a market for unique local products such as Haskap berries. Grand Forks, says Nancy, is a fertile area with a lot of potential; historically it’s been much more productive. The co-op will help to bring that back.