Imagine walking to your grocery store and finding only products that were grown and produced by people you know or who live in your area.
Giulio Piccioli, owner and chef at One Big Table, hopes that one day soon, people in Kelowna will have that experience.
One Big Table has evolved over the years from a catering company to hosting events that brings strangers together (around one big table) to enjoy a meal grown and made in the area.
In the last year, they’ve been setting up their table in different parts of the Okanagan and inviting people to take in more than a meal, but an experience where you they to meet the farmer, cheese maker and chef that made the food they get to try.
In that time, Piccioli said there has been a really great response.
“Our guests were really receptive to the values we wanted to share, like the importance of meeting the person that is growing your food being one of the biggest thing we try and bring,” he said.
Through meeting new guests, they’ve had the opportunity to identify challenges that some people had when it came to supporting local and finding unique ingredients in (and from) B.C.
Besides visiting farmer’s markets during the summer, most people had trouble accessing certain products.
“The farmer’s market of course is there, but it’s very limited in time and so what we are really trying to do now is create an access point for all these ingredients that we know people love and people look for but they’re not available on a day-to-day basis,” Piccioli explained.
Currently, they are hosting a series of pop-up grocery stores throughout the Okanagan, with a goal to raise awareness on their project in the community, connect with local people and show off the products they want to feature.
They are also taking in feedback to shape the project in a way the community wants, with a goal to have a physical location by late-spring or early summer next year that will offer local products six or seven days a week.
Piccoili said they are hoping their grocery store can take shape downtown.
“Ellis Street is one of my favourite areas of Kelowna, towards the north end,” he said. “There are lots of new businesses and lots of local people living and working in that area so it would be ideal.
“We really want to cater to the downtown area.”
A One Big Table pop-up grocery store was set up at Bean Scene last month.
Right now, they are crowd funding online to help grow their resources and take the project to the next level.
“The response has been really great. The crowdfunding campaign will hopefully hit $10,000 in the near future,” Piccoili said. (They have already raised over $8,000.)
Besides giving money, they’ve also had musicians offer to play music at events and other people donating their time and skills in other ways.
“It’s been really great to see the community support the project.”