With an increasing number of farms in the Cowichan Region, and an increasing priority to shop locally, strategies are needed to help connect farmers and purchasers to capitalize on market opportunities. Growing Connections: a handbook for purchasers & farmers in the Cowichan Region is designed to help farmers and purchasers navigate the local food supply chain and strengthen the local food economy.
Growing Connections is a resource for farmers, chefs and retails purchasers, including vegetable agencies, distributors, wholesalers, grocery stores and harvest box programs.
View the Growing Connections document online, click the download button below!
Growing Connections was created as part of the Cowichan Agriculture Market Research Project, a six month research project funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia [link to CGC funders page] in 2013. A team of three researchers from the Cowichan Green Community, under the guidance of an advisory committee of local farmers, chefs, a wholesale purchaser, a processor, an agrologist and an academic, responded to the expressed need for agriculture market research through the development of this project. Research was conducted through on-line surveys, focus groups, and interviews with farmers and purchasers. The qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed, and formed the basis for producing Growing Connections. To learn more about the background and research methodology of the project, see pages 2-11 of the handbook. The research also identified a need for a farmer and purchaser networking event, as a result, the handbook was launched at a very successful networking evening held at Alderlea farm and café.