In the last month, SLO Foods has undergone some big changes resulting in a new captain…this is your friend and neighbour, Dinah D speaking!
Feel free to read below about the change of hands, my history with Gabriola and Food sustainability on Island, and my excitement about the future with SLO Foods.
About SLO Foods’ change of hands:
When our mutual friend(and my neighbour) Eric Veale arrived at my door with the last order and talked of shutting down SLO Foods, my heart sank, “but where will I buy my tahini and currants?” I am sure we all had that thought about one item or another on the SLO Foods website…it was hard to imagine finding organic staples like beans, rice, flour, oats and nutritional yeast in any quantity on Gabriola. It was then I had a rush of excitement at the prospect of taking over SLO Foods!
I have been an organic farmer for 13 years, a beekeeper for 15 years and always fit this passion for good food around my passion to entertain the masses. I was raised in farming in Northern Alberta and community, food and art have always been braided equally in my heart. I will be building SLO Foods up a little bit at a time to offer more items to more people. Eric and I are working together for the next 2 months to ensure I have a strong footing to take the buying club forward!
About grocery shopping on Gabriola Isl:
When I moved to Gabriola in 1990, we didn’t have a grocery store! The entire island all walked over on foot to Thrifty’s for their grocery needs. There was a small convenience store at Twin Beaches and a small convenience store at what is now Pages in Silva Bay that sold very bare basics.
I watched local builders erect our Village Mall from a pile of lumber left over from Vancouver Expo ’86 and our first grocery store was born! The grocery store ran successfully on Gabriola and the owners ran it respectfully and responsively with our community at heart. Now that our store has changed hands and suppliers several times we are all missing the bulk which has not been available for a number of years. Eric has run SLO Foods successfully here on Gabriola for 16yrs and has kept the overhead at the bare minimum for Gabriolans. BRAVO, ERIC! The relatively new health food store doesn’t have capacity for bulk in quantity and the Agi Coop has been working at their online store as well- all of this helps us have variety and choice. As a shopper, I know SLO Foods has great deals on large scale bulk, and this is why i got behind it- to help bring food sustainability to our island.
As some of you know, I am a professional entertainer and have been for the last 25yrs. With the help of the pandemic, the music industry has become difficult and working in the arts is no longer a sustainable way to make a living.
I have been the sole proprietor of The Kerplunks and taken that amazing band to the top of the Canadian Kids Music ladder and released 5 award winning children’s albums, and 1 live album with my adult music band (The Contraband Swingclub) over the last 25 years. I walked the Red Carpet at the JUNO awards 3 times with The Kerplunks, and 2 more times with other collaborators in the music industry with projects I played Upright Bass on. I won so many awards my shelves are full but as with all things in the arts and pop music, you cannot stay at the top forever. And you can’t eat awards!
In the last 5 years, I worked with the Arts Council to create my dream for our Island – The Cultivate Festival – a local music and arts festival, which I sincerely hope will have a lasting legacy in our community. My heart is not in the presentation of the arts but rather in the creation of art as a working artist, which i will continue to do. I am not retiring from the arts, just slowing down as my body is requesting -the upright bass is one of the most physically demanding instruments to play. So, just as I was feeling the culmination of all these thoughts in October, Eric announced his retirement of SLO Foods and I thought this would be the perfect fit with my world view.
Moving ahead into 2023:
Eric has been patiently training me in the fine art of bulk distribution and it is a multi headed dragon. When i first proposed the change of hands to Eric he called it a “very complex sudoku” and he wasn’t kidding!
The website will be seeing some changes with more goodies to choose from and I am excited to meet you while making the deliveries over the next few months! I am REALLY grateful had the patience and kindness to guide me along, thanks Eric!
Dinah D/ SLO Foods