Island Vegetable Co-Operative Association (IVCA), is a not for profit co-operative structured marketing association categorized under Fruits and Vegetables located in Saanichton, BC, Canada. IVCA was established in 1952. IVCA currently represents a growing number of local vegetable and fruit growers on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of BC.
IVCA Is designated as a BCVMC licensed Agency through which beets (tops off), red cabbage, green cabbage, carrots (tops off), onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas and white turnips are marketed through. IVCA also markets many other products for its growers such as celery, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, green and red leaf lettuce, savoy cabbage, blackberries, strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries, squash, pumpkins, rhubarb and various other types of produce.
IVCA’s vision for the BC vegetable industry is to see it grow and expand to not only begin to provide for the majority of BC’s vegetable consumption but to be able to export to other areas of Canada and the US and make BC growers known as a premier suppliers of quality vegetables and fruit. To this end IVCA sees that…
Now is the Time
Timing is key in transitioning an industry or market. Right now the timing is ripe for a change in the way produce is marketed to the consumer. Consumer mind sets are changing as evidenced by campaigns to buy local, eat healthy and to be aware of where your food comes from. All of these are perfect for the grower to seize the opportunity and create a paradigm shift in the way produce is distributed and sold.
Health issues are also contributing to a change in the way and what the consumer is buying. Fast food is experiencing dropping revenues and is now trying to re-invent itself into something healthy. The consumer is seeing clearly what has been pushed as convenient, fast and in-expensive, is having long term health problems attached to it. With obesity come long term health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, and many other related diseases.
Eating healthy is now being seen as the best preventative to combat these health issues and live long healthy lives. Healthy food is even seeing excellent results in reversing existing diseases such as diabetes, types of cancer and weight loss. To take advantage of this timing IVCA believes it is critical to be involved in the…
Education of the Next Generation
To effectively change or create a cultural shift it must reach more than one generation or it is simply a movement and will die out as the movements generation dies off.
Keeping this in mind it will be the IVCA’s goal to spend time in schools educating children on the benefits of eating healthy, eating locally grown foods and to be aware of where your food comes from. It is imperative to reach young people and create an interest in them to consider farming as a potential career possibility and show them how important, challenging and satisfying an industry farming is.
To make the information being shared relevant, IVCA will use guest speakers, events and other medias which will make the learning experience fun and engaging for students. Where possible IVCA will become part of healthy food for student initiatives.
Time for Change
The produce marketing industry is a mature industry comprised of multiple layers of businesses ranging from growers, agencies, brokers, wholesalers, retailers and various government boards and regulatory agencies. With all these various levels of businesses touching the produce, the end result is higher prices to the consumer and low returns for the grower.
For this to change and the growers to see higher returns and profitability, it is imperative for the growers to develop a new vision for their industry and begin to lift their horizons to see the opportunities which are presenting themselves through trends towards healthy eating, eating local and droughts which are changing the vegetable producing landscape.
IVCA is looking at innovative new ways of doing business, improving the inter-action between growers, agencies, governing bodies, wholesalers, retailers and providing their growers with the tools and help to make produce growing a profitable, sustainable and appealing industry for the current, next and future generations to be involved in.