Home Business & Economy Food & Agriculture Support for BC farmers’ markets to grow, operate in emergencies

Support for BC farmers’ markets to grow, operate in emergencies

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 28, 2022, at noon (Pacific)

veggies, produce, farmers market
Local food producers sell their products at outdoor markets in the summer on Vancouver Island -- like at the Sooke Night Market in July 2021. [Island Social Trends]

Sunday January 9, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Farmers’ markets in the province are receiving funding from the governments of Canada and British Columbia to help cover the costs to expand local food and beverage sales, and operate during emergencies.

This was announced on January 5 by the BC Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries and the federal Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

“With the floods and wildfires in B.C. this past year, farmers’ markets give us a chance to directly support our local farmers, who, despite all the challenges, continue to deliver great food for us,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “This investment will help BC farmers bounce back in the coming years by making sure farmers’ markets can serve our communities in times of need.”

Expansion of farmers’ markets:

Marie-Claude Bibeau
Marie-Claude Bibeau, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

The new BC Farmers’ Market Expansion Program will support the expansion of farmers’ markets to accommodate more vendors and maintain operations during emergencies to ensure communities throughout BC have continued access to food. The one-time program is providing $475,000, with up to $15,000 available for each eligible applicant.

“This new program funding will help ensure farmers’ markets can stay open and operate during emergencies so British Columbians can access the foods they count on,” said Lana Popham, BC’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “Through the pandemic and extreme weather events the province has seen over the last year and a half, the importance of local food has never been greater. Markets will be able to grow and welcome more vendors while keeping everyone healthy and safe.”

Farmers’ markets can use the funding for signs and merchandising, storage and transportation, and power and operations costs. Eligible applicants include non-profit groups, co-operatives, for-profit corporations, local governments and First Nations that operate a farmers’ market that primarily sells BC food and beverage products. A farmers’ market must have been in operation for at least one year (established prior to November 2020) or operated in the summer 2021 season to be eligible.

Resiliency of farmer’s markets:

lana popham, berries, turkey
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Lana Popham said after the Sumas Valley flooding in mid-November 2021 that the food supply chain is stable.

“Community-based farmers’ markets across B.C. are a key anchor for local and regional food systems supporting thousands of local farm, food and artisanal businesses,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “The BC Farmers’ Market Expansion Program is a critical investment in the resiliency of local farmers’ markets, which have risen to the challenge and fed our communities in both good times and throughout COVID, forest fires and flooding.”

One-time funding, deadline January 28:

The funding is a one-time, cost-shared, reimbursement-based program delivered through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, in collaboration with the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. It will help markets come back stronger from their pre-pandemic operating levels, set a strong foundation for future growth and long-term success, and support efforts to strengthen BC’s food security.

Applications will be accepted until Jan. 28, 2022, at noon (Pacific time), on a first-come, first-served basis or until available funding has been fully committed.

Funding is provided by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a five-year $3-billion investment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to strengthen and grow Canada’s agriculture, agri-food and agri-products sectors. This includes a $2-billion commitment that is cost-shared 60% federally and 40% provincially/territorially for programs designed and delivered by provinces and territories.

eggs, shelf
Eggs and other fresh food products saw some supply challenges in retail due to the flooding in Nov 2021.

===== Quick Facts:

The BC Farmers’ Market Expansion Program funding can be used for:

  • signs and merchandising, including promotional, directional or COVID-19 specific signs, merchandising racks and display stands for promotional materials.
  • storage and transportation, including secured storage, dry storage and cold storage facilities, and shelving for storage units, as well as trailers and shipping containers required to move equipment, signs and infrastructure. * power and operations, including power-supply systems, tents, tent weights, tables, chairs, barricades, walkie-talkies, public-address systems, temporary staging, lights, heaters, misters and generators

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