Wildsight’s Local store in Fernie has celebrated its first birthday, with the store having opened its doors in late 2020.
The volunteer-run store was opened as a way to increase year-round access to locally produced food from nearby farms and local small producers in the Elk Valley and nearby.
According to Wildsight, in the first year of operation, over $179,000 was paid to local food businesses in the first 12 months of operation, with just short of 40 percent of that staying in the Elk Valley. Another 54 percent stayed in the region, going to Kimberley, Cranbrook, Creston, the Columbia Valley and the Crowsnest Pass. The remaining 7 percent went elsewhere in B.C. and Canada.
“We have come a long way in our first twelve months” said Local coordinator, Jennifer Lennon.
“From vision, to reality, to being named (Fernie Chamber of Commerce) New Business of the Year, Local is proving that there is both demand and support for year-round local food access in the Valley.”
The number of vendors using Local has grown from 17 in late 2020 to 50 now. Goods sold include honey, meats, soap, eggs and chocolate.
“We are connecting Elk Valley residents and visitors to local food, and helping them come to know and trust the source of their food,” said Lennon.
According to the annual impact report released by Wildsight, over 600 customers were served each month, with over 1,700 dozen locally raised eggs sold, 109 lbs of rhubarb sourced and sold from local gardens, and 3,515 lbs of locally grown apples sold.
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