Businesses of all types are being forced, by the coronavirus pandemic, to rethink how they operate. Our partner, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace, is no exception. Their online farmer’s market, the Cow-Op, has seen demand increase five-fold as more Canadian families turn to grocery delivery as a safe and convenient option.

The Cow-Op is special because it is a non-profit co-operative that only stocks products from local Vancouver Island food producers and processors. Farmers and food producers benefit from the Cow-Op’s marketing, selling, packaging, and delivering systems for their products. At the same time, southern Vancouver Islanders are able to shop online year-round and directly support local family farms and businesses.

Pedal to the metal to meet demand

One of the Cow-Op’s largest obstacles to meet increased demand for local food at this time is their capacity to sort and pack orders, and deliver them.

They have relied on volunteers, and expanded their partnership with the Cowichan Recyclists, to make it possible to deliver a record unprecedented amounts of food around Cowichan Valley. They aim to hire more staff for what is projected to be a busy year.

Cyclists delivering food near Duncan, BC

Additionally, the Cow-Op needs to increase its physical and digital infrastructure to keep up, while adhering to public health guidelines.

Fresh additions

In the past few weeks, the Cow-Op has moved quickly to add as many new members as possible. They are helping local small businesses reach more customers.

Here are a few of the food producers and processors which started selling their products on the Cow-Op.ca since the pandemic began:

Drumroaster Coffee

Lenora Bee Apiary & Farm

The Hofmann’s

Farms Gate Foods and Catering

Raincoast Kombucha

Dancing Dandelion Farms

With these wild times come the search for solutions and ways to flow with the current. With that blooms beautiful creativity & collaboration! We are so grateful & honoured for the opportunity & service that the Cow-Op has provided us, while many of our faithful customers & abundance streams are shut down amidst these turbulent times.
Matt Klasen & Christina Maitland

Owners, Raincoast Kombucha

An essential service

It is more clear now than ever that the Cow-Op provides an essential service to the southern Vancouver Island community. Local farmers, small businesses, families, and individuals have all come to depend on this humble co-operative.

The Cow-Op is working around-the-clock to provide consumers with the products they need, whether that’s fresh fruits and veggies or one of the most coveted items of 2020: hand sanitizer. They need our assistance to continue this important work.

Alcohol-based rub, produced by Ampersand Distilling Co, is sold by the Cow-Op

Support the Cowichan community

To assist our partners, the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace, and promote food security and employment in BC, we have launched a special campaign to raise CAD $10,000. You can help farmers and other small business owners get their products onto tables across the Cowichan Valley.

Community Evolution is showing up as an incredible pillar of support to us at this time, enabling us to truly step into the big shoes of providing an economically reliable sales outlet to local agriculture. Being able to capture the growth that is knocking at our door right now will have long term implications for our success.

Derrick Pawlowski

Market Manager, Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace