As British Columbians peel the potatoes and prepare the side dishes to go with their Thanksgiving turkey this weekend, Agriculture Minister Pat Pimm is taking a moment to highlight the benefits of buying local and celebrating the contribution of B.C’s agriculture sector.
More than 61,000 people work in the B.C. agrifoods industry and together the farmers, ranchers and food processors produce more than 200 commodities on the land and harvest about 100 species of fish, shellfish and plants from the sea. Many of these local products will be served on Thanksgiving dinner tables this weekend.
In 2012, total farm cash receipts from B.C.’s agriculture sector increased eight per cent to $2.8 billion. The crop and livestock/poultry sectors generated almost equal shares of the provincial farm cash receipts. B.C. raised more than 2.7 million turkeys and the total turkey production rose five per cent from the previous year to 21,400 tonnes.
The just released British Columbia Agrifood Industry Year in Review notes the province produced almost 72,000 tonnes of potatoes in 2012 – that’s enough for 480 million servings. Mushrooms and potatoes were B.C.’s highest-value, non-greenhouse vegetable crops, followed by corn, lettuce, carrots, beans, cabbage and brussels sprouts.
Fresh B.C. vegetables and other local products are available at farmers markets and grocery stores year round.
In 2012, the B.C. government invested $2 million to help B.C. farmers and food processors promote local foods through the Buy Local Program. The program offers successful applicants matching funds up to $100,000 to launch or expand local food marketing campaigns.
The overall agriculture, seafood and food processing sectors’ revenue grew to $11.7 billion in 2012.
Building the local market for B.C. foods is a key commitment of government’s Agrifoods Strategy, a component of the BC Jobs Plan, to lead the agrifoods sector growth into a $14-billion-a-year industry by 2017.
“I encourage all British Columbians to try a local food product this
weekend and support the hard work of our province’s agriculture sector,” said Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm. “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for our farmers and producers to showcase their products and for B.C. families to enjoy the benefit of healthy and great tasting local food while supporting the provincial economy.”
British Columbia Agrifood Industry Year in Review – 2012 (comprehensive statistical information on the province’s agrifood industry): http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/stats/YinReview/Agrifood-YIR-2012.pdf
Agriculture, Seafood & Agrifoods Sector Snapshot – 2012: http://www.agf.gov.bc.ca/stats/Sectors/SectorSnapshot2012.pdf