During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is helping member markets move to an online model to continue providing consumers with locally grown and prepared food products.
“It’s important to support your community and each other during this time of uncertainty, and a virtual shopping trip to a farmers market is an easy way to get the groceries on your list and to Buy BC, while ensuring physical distancing measures are being followed,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Moving farmers markets online will help ensure the health and safety of vendors and consumers, while still providing the same fresh and local food that families all over the province count on.”
The 145 BCAFM member farmers markets operating in British Columbia play a key role in many communities’ food supply and support the livelihood of many farmers and their families. These markets are eligible to receive funding to help transition to an online market platform. This will enable them to continue selling their food products to customers in their communities.
“The critical importance and resiliency of local food and farmers has never been clearer than now, and B.C. farmers markets are an essential retail sales channel for British Columbians to access local food and sustain the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and food processors across our province,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BCAFM. “Our member farmers markets continue to modify their operations to ensure the health and safety of customers, vendors and market organizers alike, and in further response to COVID-19, our new BC Farmers’ Markets Online platform will offer a new shopping channel for the peak farmers market season this summer.”
British Columbians can find a farmers market near them and see which markets have launched online operations in the weeks and months ahead at: https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
The B.C. government is providing $55,000 to the BCAFM to cover fees for individual farmers markets to join the online platform and set up their digital market store presence. Each participating farmers market will create its own virtual market store to best serve its communities.
The funding is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC program. Buy BC helps farmers, ranchers and producers market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced, making it easy for British Columbians to Buy BC.
As they open, information about active BC Farmers’ Markets Online will be added to: https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
This website will also have up-to-date information on the markets operating in the community.
More about Buy BC: https://buybc.gov.bc.ca/
Apply to be a member of the BCAFM: https://bcfarmersmarket.org/membership/farmers-market-membership/
For an example of an online farmers market, visit: https://www.localline.ca/click-fork
A backgrounder follows.