It was almost a year ago that flooding washed away portions of the Coquihalla Highway.
One of the casualties of that catastrophic event was disruption to the food supply chain to the Okanagan.
It was at that time that a small, locally owned and farmer-focused market and delivery service called LocalMotive drew the attention of many local shoppers.
While many store shelves were bare, LocalMotive had an abundance of produce, eggs, dairy and more. And, as people line up desperately to find healthy fresh food, the company’s vision of a local food supply chain manifested unexpectedly for the small company.
“When we started our company in 2005, barely anyone was buying organic and there was a small number of people focused on local food supply,” says owner Thomas Tumbach, who has a bachelor of science degree in agroecology from UBC.
“With the increasing number of climate-related events, there are more and more impacts on food supply. Farmers live and die by the weather. Due to these events, most consumers are starting to take note of how their choices will either help build up and support, or work against, local farmers and degrade the local food system. Every purchase consumers make affects the direction of the food system we will have in the future.”
LocalMotive started as a small organic home delivery service that packaged seasonal hampers of local organic fruits and vegetables, called consumer-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes. It delivered them to homes in the area.
“CSA is a popular emerging model for building direct food connections between farmers and consumers,” says Tumbach.
Tom Tumback, owner of Local Motive with some of the produce his market sells.
In a CSA box delivery model, consumers sign up for a subscription to a CSA box and get it delivered to their door weekly.
“Our organic home delivery service is still running after 17 years, it really helps our farm plan how much to grow and to reduce overproduction and related food waste,” said Tumbach.
LocalMotive currently serves more than 500 clients monthly from West Kelowna to Osoyoos and supports more than 25 local farmers with their unique subscription service and online ordering platform, available at localmotive.ca.
In 2020, the company expanded its offerings by adding a retail market in Penticton.
“Many of our customers loved our delivery service but wanted more access when they ran out of produce. So we decided to open a retail space they could come six days a week, year-round.”
LocalMotive Market offers a wide array of local organic produce, but also works with local processors that make value-added products, such as preserves, sauces, body care products, gift items and more. The market offers a full line of grocery, dairy, bulk foods and ingredients, and produces many unique foods in its own kitchen, where it preserves local fruits and vegetables that often go to waste.
“There is a lot of food waste involved in farming. A good farm will typically average a loss of 20% of crops due to various cosmetic failures, but the food is still usable,” says Tumbach. “This is why we started a kitchen at the market, so we could reduce waste and make valuable products from them.”
The Local Motive kitchen produces its own line of pickles, jams, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurts and grab n’ go lunch items, which are some of the main attractions of the market.
Another way LocalMotive reduces waste in their market is by offering customers the opportunity to shop “plastic-free.”
Customers can go to the market with their own containers and use the unique “Fill Joy” jar tag system, where they tag their containers with a Fill Joy chip that is recognized by the till at the check out.
“The new Fill Joy system speeds up the process of plastic-free shopping, and allows customers to shop quickly without using plastics,” says Tumbach.
Customers can fill bulk grains, nuts, coffee, tea, flour and dried fruits, as well as a full line of cleaning products such as shampoos and conditioners, soaps, laundry detergents and more.
Located adjacent to Tony’s Meats and Woudas Bakery in the Apple Plaza in Penticton, LocalMotive makes the plaza a one-stop shop for many dedicated customers.
“Our customers love what we are offering,” says Tumbach. “The quality and freshness make our products unique and appealing, and that is why we are increasing our retail space, so we can show off the amazing array of local products that are available and help reduce our impact on the environment with plastic-free shopping options.”
So stop by checking out the exciting new market, and bring your own containers for the many bulk foods and cleaning products
LocalMotive is located in the Apple Plaza at 1848 Main Street in Penticton and is open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. Contact it at 236 422-3512 or go to its website at localmotivemarket.ca.
One of LocalMotive’s managers Louise Murdock in the market.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.