Value Chain Development

Land to Table understands that small and medium farms remain the most common scale of farming in the North Okanagan. However, these farms struggle to compete with a global supply chain that makes cheap food easily available through corporate suppliers.

Through conversations facilitated by Land to Table (beginning in 2017), we have heard that local small to medium scale farmers are interested in pursuing aggregation as a strategy for reaching new markets (to diversify sales and grow farming businesses).

Furthermore, we believe that the increasing number of disruptions (e.g. COVID 19, fires, and flooding) that have impacted our supply chains have highlighted the vulnerabilities of relying on corporate food suppliers alone – for resilience, we need to have options available to us, both global and local. 

What is a Value Chain?

A value chain is a supply chain that is designed to link supply with markets efficiently, but to do so while promoting certain core values, such as access to fresh and nutritious food; stewardship of the environment; and equity in the form of fair treatment of and a livable wage for farm-workers, a decent livelihood for farmers, and increased access for all community members to that food.

How is L2T developing a local food value chain?

Land to Table is creating opportunities to develop our local food economy by finding ways to connect local small to medium scale producers located in the Okanagan Bioregion to local markets of all sizes to increase local food procurement. L2T’s local food value chain development relies on understanding the needs and challenges on both sides of the supply chain (from farmer to consumer).

Our work to develop value chains (rather than just supply chains) requires values development, partnership development, aggregation and distribution methods and pathways, and storytelling and engagement, outlined as follows:

Values Development: Helping producers and end-markets better understand and define the values behind local food – a concept we are describing as ‘Local +’. This means clarifying the values that local growers (and supporting businesses) represent through their practices, and connecting them with buyers who want their ‘buying-power’ to positively impact the local community.

Partnership Development: Building relationships with both supply and demand partners who have interest in or hold shared values for local food. This involves facilitating supply relationship development, and creating opportunities to ‘institutionalize’ or secure the commitment of institutions like universities and hospitals to local purchasing.

Aggregation and Distribution: Supporting the development of mid-scale businesses and infrastructure that prioritizes aggregation of product from small-medium scale farmers and streamlines distribution to local end markets.

Storytelling and Engagement: Clearly communicating and demonstrating the values of local food for scaling up local procurement through research studies, success stories, testimonials, and impact reporting.

Value Chain Development Projects

Land to Table’s 3-year partnership with UBCO is a key project in this stream of work. We connected the university to a local farmer aggregator, who is pooling products from several farms in order to meet the volume requirements to supply the university’s needs. Building on this work, we are now finding ways to aggregate produce for bulk purchasing by social service agencies, including food banks. Furthermore, as UBCO looks to ‘institutionalize’ their commitment to local farmers through growing-contracts (ensuring purchasing year upon year), so too is L2T helping community organizations develop growing-contracts to further commit to the local food value chain.

Having an institution like UBC Okanagan (UBCO) champion local food procurement provides farmers with an opportunity to develop relationships and infrastructure around the aggregation and distribution of their products. Building partnerships with new regional institutional partners, based on the approach and successes at UBCO, provides the opportunity to further incentivize local infrastructure investment and to create a more resilient and equitable local food system in the Okanagan.


The BX Ranchlands (BXR) represents the opportunity for community-led growing, programming, and infrastructure development for greater community food security and resilience, all wrapped up in a beautiful 135 acre parcel of land! Land to Table (L2T) Network has been deeply rooted in the plans for this site since our inception in 2018 – mostly in supporting the visionaries (i.e. the BX/Swan Lake Residents Association and RDNO Electoral Area Directors for areas B and C) and advocating for it to remain in public hands.

Through land-access for new and experienced farmers, this site represents the opportunity for farm-products to link to local value chains. Our collective efforts continue to grow this amazing opportunity, and build step-by-step progress toward a vision for community resilience through farming.


This Learning Circle Series, funded by the Vancouver Foundation, offered L2T and UBCO the opportunity to engage panelists and participants across the food sector in discussions to understand the systemic barriers to institutional local food procurement, build trust and interest across the value chain (farmer-cafeteria-consumer), and ultimately develop a plan to tackle the systemic barriers to get local food onto regional institution plates.

L2T is connecting our Regional Community Food Hub partners to local food sources, providing reliable end-markets to local producers and affordable healthy local food to the community. One example is Turning Points in Vernon, who purchases produce ‘seconds’ (sometimes known as ugly veggies) from Shuswap Organics to supply their meal programming.

L2T also works closely with the following organizations to help connect to local food supply:

  • The Good Food Box who purchases from a variety of local farms to access fresh produce for their monthly distribution.
  • School District 22 works with Keenan Family Farms to purchase local eggs.


In 2023 Land to Table (L2T) and Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Institute for Sustainable Food Systems (ISFS) started a Rural Food Banks Procurement Study in collaboration with Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society to help understand and address the unique challenges of how to feed food insecure folks in rural communities in British Columbia in times of increased food costs and reduced donations to food banks. We are working with Community Connections (Revelstoke) Society, Eagle Valley Resource Centre in Sicamous, the Golden Food Bank, and the Columbia Valley Food Bank in Invermere to explore how these organizations can source cost-effective and values-aligned food for people in need. This will need to be done in face of the following barriers: small, spread out populations, long distances from city centers, difficult (and often dangerous winter) transportation barriers, as well as limited infrastructure like storage.


The Market Opportunity Study is an example of a L2T research project designed to better understand the agricultural landscape and market potential in our region.

More specifically, the purpose of this study was to identify opportunities and pathways to scale up local vegetable and fruit procurement from small-medium scale farms to supply institutional and retail market channels, and better understand the role that small scale aggregation/infrastructure can play to increase wholesale supply and demand.

Findings suggest that unfortunately, getting local food into these markets faces a number of systems and regulatory barriers, especially in relation to CanadaGAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification. 


To complete the value chain opportunities in our region, we are in the early days of exploring funding and project partners to develop community food infrastructure at the Spallumcheen Agri-Hub site. The hope is that we can build infrastructure (e.g. warehouse space and cold storage) that is needed by farmers and community access organizations alike. Stay-tuned as we hope to have more to share in spring 2024.