MEET OUR FOOD HUB PARTNERS: LOCAL PULSE
A chat with Kent Fawcett
We had a brief chat with Kent Fawcett, the Creator of Local Pulse. Kent runs Local Pulse as a sole proprietorship and credits his fiancé, Nic Zdunich as the mastermind behind the marketing efforts including the website, packaging and the famous Local Pulse mascots. Local Pulse was created to inspire the Kamloops community to make big changes in our world through little choices that begin with plant-based foods like Pulses.
Local Pulse is the anchor business for our HACCP (Hazard analysis and critical control points) ready processing facility for dehydration and packaging. We are partnering with Local Pulse to develop community based and social enterprise uses of the commercial scale dehydrator.
About Local Pulse
Kent has always been passionate about helping people through his work as a researcher. He also has a personal connection to food as someone who had an eating disorder for over 10 years. Local Pulse was created as an amalgamation of those interests and experiences. He noticed that our actions and consumption has created adverse effects to our health and the planet. As a solution, he created a food business to inspire people to eat healthy and plant-based choices. Kent created Local Pulse to teach people the impact of consumption such as the human rights issues and questionable farming practices attached to sourcing food internationally, the detrimental effects of not consuming seasonally and the damaging effects of animal agriculture. A focus on food could solve a lot of problems. Local pulse is all about thinking big but doing small things to get a lot of people engaged.
“Rather than telling people that ‘you need to be vegan’, ‘eat plant-based choices’, ‘change your life’ or ‘you’re doing this wrong’ I simply say ‘here is some hummus, it tastes good.’ It gradually gets people on board to make plant-based choices to help themselves and the planet. Every choice creates an impact!” – Kent Fawcett
Kent realized that pulses are highly nutritious plant-based sources of protein that he could eat without any guilt. Pulses can be grown in Canada and have the lowest water footprint of any protein source. Currently, locally grown pulses are not available in grocery stores to purchase. Pulses grown in Canada are exported to India and other countries. To fill domestic demand, the same pulses are imported from countries like Turkey. Through Local Pulse, the local economy can be revitalized. Pea protein is getting a huge boom and a lot of the growth is coming from Canada. As plant-based diets are becoming more popular, this presents a good business opportunity as pulses are the most sustainable protein sources.
Pilot Project and Feasibility Study for a Regional Food Processing and Innovation Hub
Local pulse was one of the 5 businesses that enrolled in market validation training and coaching during the Pilot Project. The training program made use of a model obtained from Kamloops Innovation Centre (KIC), applied to tech start-ups to mentor food businesses and entrepreneurs. For Kent and most food entrepreneurs, there is a huge amount of passion and personal interest in running a food business however, there is a lot of uncertainty as they are approaching the growth stage of their business. KIC assisted in focusing on the back end to ensure Local Pulse is sustainable in the long term.
Impact of the Food Hub to Local Pulse
The Food Hub helps to mitigate and ease the fear and risk associated with scaling a business. Kent got the opportunity to collaborate with a strategic advisor to create a business plan. He discovered that to scale, he will have to invest in a facility, equipment and employees that will potentially cost upwards of half a million dollars. The Food Hub acts as an intermediary to prepare him for the growth stage of his business. Through the Food Hub, he can simply rent a space, test the equipment and focus on value adding activities to push his business forward. When he started his food business, he realized that a facility of this caliber was lacking in the community. There are so many talented people and entrepreneurs that are part of the Kamloops scene. Through the Food Hub, food businesses will have access to a great resource he didn’t have while starting his business.