Several Langley agriculture growers and producers have received Buy Local grants to help promote local products.

Langley producers benefit from Buy Local program

Provincial program helps producers promote their specialty products.

The Fraser Valley is home to an abundance of diverse, locally owned and operated agrifood businesses for British Columbians to explore and discover.

Residents and visitors in the valley are treated to fresh flavours from their backyards, all year round.

The provincial government’s Buy Local Program is supporting the B.C. agrifood and seafood industry with funding to increase sales and grow brand awareness. Seven companies in the Fraser Valley are receiving up to a combined total of $281,460 of Buy Local funding to develop promotional materials, advertising campaigns and participate in tradeshows and events.

* Since 2009, Backyard Vineyards has been producing award-winning varietals, blended, and bubbly wines from 100 per cent B.C. grapes that are grown on-site in their vineyard in the Township and complemented with fruit from the Fraser Valley and South Okanagan. It received $75,000 from the program.

“It’s incredibly important to support local farms and small business in British Columbia,” said winemaker James Cambridge. “The financial support provided through the Buy Local BC program allowed us to punch above our weight in a number of areas of our business, resulting in one of the most fruitful years we’ve had yet.”

* Dead Frog Brewery started in 2006 in Aldergrove. The craft beer company creates flavours offered all year round as well as seasonal specialty beers, such as Blueberry Blast Kettle Sour and Winter Beeracle Winter Ale. The program provided $70,000 to the business.

“The Buy Local funding has helped give us the resources to launch our Collect Experiences, Not Things campaign, which has led to some of our most successful products ever,” said CEO Derrick Smith. “With the funding, we’ve been able to get the word out on our new Dead Frog Dozen Mixer Pack and our seasonal Atomic Cherry Tart Cherry Ale, and increase sales over 300 per cent over last year for certain products.”

* Established in the early 1960s, Driediger Farms is a wholesale and retail producer and distributor of fresh and frozen berries. Grown on over 160 acres of land, their berries are available during the season from their on-farm retail market. Buy Local provided $56,675 in funding.

“Driediger Farms has been a part of the community for over 50 years, making us a trusted source of products for British Columbians. With the help from the provincial government’s Buy Local program, we are growing our brand awareness and increasing sales on the farm while promoting to new vendors in the market place,” said domestic marketing manager Jennifer Lavigne.

* Vista D’Oro Farms is a culinary agritourism destination for British Columbians located in South Langley. It grows culinary herbs, orchard fruits and grapes on 10 acres, and produces and sells preserves from on-farm ingredients at the Farmgate Shop and Tasting Room. The business received $34,665.

* Processed and packaged in Langlgey, Gramma Dees Gourmet Snacks are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free. Owner Doug Davidson was introduced to cheese bread in Brazil and became so fond of it that he and his family used an old family recipe to create Gramma Dees Gourmet Snacks so that all British Columbians can enjoy the Brazilian-style cheese bread. Buy Local provided $13,500.

“We believe that the Buy Local program is beneficial in so many ways,” Davidson said. “It supports local companies so they can create more jobs, give customers more product options and help preserve the environment. It’s a privilege to be a truly British Columbian company and it’s an honour to be part of this program.”

* Gojoy grows goji berries which are full of flavour and antioxidants. Owner Peter Breederland is operating the only goji berry farm in Canada. British Columbians are invited to the farm in Aldergrove during harvesting months to pick their own fresh goji berries. It received $12,320.

“We are very grateful for the support provided by the Buy Local grant,” said Gojoy’s Peter Breederland. “The funding has helped us to market, and easily access, our locally grown goji berries.”

The Buy Local program has received $8 million in B.C. government funding since 2012 to increase sales of locally grown and processed agrifood and seafood products within the province.

The B.C. government’s Agrifood and Seafood Strategic Growth Plan supports the building of domestic markets and maintaining a secure food supply. The plan is a component of the BC Jobs Plan, and the roadmap to leading the agrifoods sector to becoming a $15-billion-a-year industry by 2020.

The Buy Local program is administered by the Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia. Applications are available at: http://iafbc.ca/funding-opportunities/buy-local/.