A new smartphone app from B.C.’s farmers can tell you which local foods are in season, where to find them in your neighbourhood and even how to cook them with advice from celebrity chefs.
“No matter where you are in B.C., you can use the app to find what local foods are around you,” said Jennifer Woron of the BC Dairy Association, one of the funding agencies for the We Heart Local project.
Nearly 300 local food businesses, restaurants, farmers markets, grocers and breweries across B.C. have already registered for a listing on the service, which requires that they sell B.C.-grown and harvested food and drink.
Restaurants must carry at least five menu items made from qualifying ingredients. Market vendors and food trucks must offer 20 locally sourced items or 50 per cent of products on offer must be from B.C.
Qualifying items are indicated by a We Local label. The app is available through iTunes or buylocaleatnatural.com.
“We know that consumers are very enthusiastic about local food; last summer’s We Heart Local Awards were a phenomenal success,” said Reg Ens, executive director of the B.C. Agriculture Council. “This is more of a demand-pull exercise that will show our producers where opportunities to sell more of their products are, especially when people start to use the app.”
The app shows people what is available in their neighbourhood, said Woron, “and in B.C. that can be a lot because so many of the foods we produce are available year-round. There’s a lot of diversity; we’re lucky.”
The app also offers several hundred recipes, some submitted by local chefs such as Ned Bell of the Four Seasons Hotel, Jackie Ellis of Beaucoup Bakery and David Robertson of The Dirty Apron Cooking School.
We Heart Local is a collaboration of the BC Dairy Association, the provincial ministry of agriculture, producer groups and the BCAC, designed to put locally produced foods foremost in consumer consciousness.