Eating fresh, locally produced food has always been a way of life in Vancouver, thanks to the bounty flowing from nearby lands and waters. Some of world’s best fruits, vegetables and seafood are found here, and in fact, Condé Nast recently named Vancouver one of the Best Food Cities in the world.
Growing the economy and jobs
Today, eating local food — also known as the locavore movement — is an important sector in its own right under the Green Economy umbrella, positively impacting jobs and the economy in a way that was unthinkable only 20 years ago. A 2014 report published by the VEC found that, in 2013, the local food subsector employed 6,000 people — a whopping 21 percent increase from only a few short years earlier in 2010.
Vancouver’s farmers’ markets are at the heart of the local food movement and are growing rapidly.
|VANCOUVER FARMERS MARKETS STATS, 2014|
|Total vendor sales||$8.2 million|
|Markets per week||7 summer, 2 winter, 1 holiday market|
|Months per year in operation||12|
|Number of vendors||265|
|Total customers per week||20,000 (average)|
|Number of acres in food production for domestic consumption||16,250 (6,576 hectares)|
Today’s greatly-expanded network of markets now provides a $15 million benefit to the local economy, a significant jump over sales in 1994. In that first year of operation, markets earned $40,000 over 11 weeks.
Part of Vancouver’s DNA
Vancouver is one of the only cities in the world with an official food strategy – a plan to create a sustainable, secure food system for its citizens. It also has a highly active Vancouver Food Policy Council made up of farmers, distributors, activists, and academics. This advisory group helps City Council develop food policy and is one of the oldest of its kind in North America. Supporting the local food economy is central to Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 Action Plan (GCAP) which aims to boost assets such as urban farms, community gardens, farmers markets, and orchards — part of Vancouver’s overall plan to be the greenest city in the world by 2020.
Local Food Champions
Vancouver has hundreds of local food champions – innovators that are leading in every local food sector, including farms, retailers, restaurants, processors, manufacturers, distributors, caterers and social enterprise organizations. The Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) is proud to support these pioneers – amongst many others – in growing our city, creating new jobs and adding an exciting new branch to our local economy.