First and foremost, both Trish and I are passionate about eating healthy and locally produced food. We wanted to support local farmers as well as share the wonderful produce from our region with others.
As the editor of the Northern Valleys News, I have been writing about the producers in our region for nearly eight years. Each issue of the Northern Valleys News features a local producer on the cover – and through the 100 issues published, I have met some amazing local farmers and entrepreneurs. I love sharing their stories and learning about their produce. Most love what they do – but many are struggling to make the money or receive proper recognition for their hard work and quality produce.
As the chair of the Chittering Chamber of Commerce, Trish, (real job –accountant and owner of Northern Valleys Tax and Business Services) was also meeting a lot of producers, and trying to figure out how the Chamber could support them – and in turn help grow tourism and prosperity in the region.
We were both attending more and more workshops, presentations and meetings with industry and tourism groups as well as government funded organisations who were trying to drive a co-ordinated tourism effort and promote the region.
Frustrated with the lack of progress and circular discussions about regional branding and strategy, we decided to go ahead and start something ourselves! What we started was not in fact a produce store, but rather a platform for producers of the region to share their stories and sell their produce direct to consumers. We called it the Northern Valleys Locavore Store… and it’s a store in the old-fashioned sense of the word – a place for producers to store their produce so purchasers can collect a variety of goods in one place.
With consumers becoming more and more interested in the origins of their food and more and more driven to make ethical food choices, the main mission of the store is to connect people who want to make ethical and sustainable food choices with producers who are growing and producing good, clean and fair produce in the Northern Valleys region.