New program recognizes restaurants and businesses supporting local food

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Buy Local. Eat Natural—a sustainable food movement supported by the B.C. Dairy Association, B.C. Agriculture Council, and B.C. Ministry of Agriculture—has launched a province-wide program that organizers are hoping will encourage people to think more about where their food comes from.

The We Heart Local Partnership Program is open to restaurants and businesses that use or sell products grown in British Columbia. Participating restaurants must have a minimum of five menu items made with B.C. farmed and harvested or processed foods, and grocery stores that qualify must ensure that at least 10 percent of all products sold are local. Market vendors and food trucks can also qualify for the program, as long as those businesses guarantee that more than 50 percent of products used are B.C. grown.

Local products that qualify include fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, and any food, beverage, or natural-health products made in B.C.

“Much like the Ocean Wise program has driven support for sustainable seafood, our goal with the We Heart Local Partnership Program is to drive the consumer movement towards supporting buying local food in B.C.,” Rhonda Driediger, chair of the B.C. Agriculture Council, stated in a news release.

Restaurants and businesses interested in joining the We Heart Local Partnership Program can apply online. Members of the community will be given branding materials to use on menus, storefronts, and websites. Restaurants and businesses will also be featured on the Buy Local. Eat Natural website and new mobile app.

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