On Thursday, B.C. revealed their list of current "essential" businesses and services in the province, and farmers' markets made the cut. While this means that the Vancouver Farmers Market, and other markets in the lower mainland can continue to operate - with some additional measures to aid in physical distacing and safety - the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) announced Friday they are also helping get their member markets online.
Shifting to an online model is another way the province's many farmers and vendors can continue to provide consumers with locally-grown and prepared foods.
“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.”
There are 145 BCAFM member markets, and these markets are a vital platform for the province's farmers, who rely on market stalls for a portion of their income.
The province has made funding available to help the BCAFM member markets get to an online platform.
Right now, the addition of the online platform is in the planning stages, but anyone interested in seeing which markets from around B.C. sign on, you can bookmark the BC Farmers' Market Trail site.
Participation in BC Farmers’ Markets Online is voluntary and an online store will not necessarily replace a physical market.
“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.”