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Flowers, and the Buy Local campaign


February 10, 2009
By Dave Harrison

Feb. 10, 2009 — My neighbourhood supermarket closed this month, broadening my
definition of the Buy Local philosophy. When people asked if I
supported the campaign, I could honestly say that few other people
bought more local than I did. The store was 200 metres away. 

Feb. 10, 2009 — My neighbourhood supermarket closed last month, broadening my definition of the Buy Local philosophy. When people asked if I supported the campaign, I could honestly say that few other people bought more local than I did. The store was 200 metres away. I had to find another retailer, though I’ve now adopted a Buying-Not-Quite-So-Local philosophy.

The Foodland Ontario program has been quite successful. It has been promoting Ontario-grown fruits and vegetables, including greenhouse produce, for many years. It has recently expanded its mandate to include meat, dairy and eggs.

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Other provinces have similar locally grown (or raised) foods promotion programs. They get consumers thinking about their selection options, and highlight the availability of many fresh fruits and vegetables. The support is appreciated by farmers, and the programs work.

About the only flower promotion initiative we know of anywhere in North America is Pick Ontario. And it, too, works, once growers, wholesalers and retailers buy into it.

“The major grocery retailers all endorse our campaign and logo and have been starting to integrate its use in seasonal promotions,” said marketing director Gary Gander. “Anecdotally, I can tell you that the reaction from consumers and florists and growers is positive. Those that know about floriculture in Ontario typically say ‘it’s about time,’ and those that don’t (consumers) are thrilled to learn just what’s available locally.”

The Pick Ontario flower promotion model can be transplanted, and probably will be transplanted, in other regions of Canada. It’s a great Buy Local campaign, and it’s succeeding for the exact same reason the Foodland Ontario campaign works.

Do you support the Pick Ontario promotion? Should this be a national campaign? Should governments, which collect hefty tax revenues from flower sales, be fully funding the cost of such a campaign, much as they do with locally grown food promotion initiatives?

What do you think? Don't be shy!


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