The Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) is working hard to connect consumers to producers at local farmer’s markets in their jurisdiction.
RDBN runs an initiative called Connecting Consumers and Producers, and this year the program is doing what they’re calling a One Day Market Takeover.
“It’s a promotional event that we are hosting over the summer. So, for one of the market days for each of the markets in the region, our staff will be there,” said Nellie Davis, RDBN manager of regional economic development.
“And so, when we’re there, we’re purchasing local products from the vendors at each of those markets. And there is an opportunity for people who are shopping to enter to win that prize,” she said.
This gift basket is actually a cooler bag, filled with fresh produce and other market goods from local producers, like honey, eggs, and meat products. The goods put together in the bag total around 25 dollars worth.
On some occasions, crafts are included in the baskets too, but the materials need to be sourced locally, or even within the artisans own company (like bees wax products made from a person who also produces the honey), according to Davis.
RDBN has a tent at each market with the bag on display, as well as the draw box for the bag that the shoppers need to enter. The winner is drawn at the end of the day, and can pick up the basket immediately.
“It’s just a lovely introduction to producers in the region,” said Davis.
In addition to putting together the gift basket, RBDN is also covering the costs the vendors normally pay to the market, at each Takeover event.
This past Friday, the One Day Market Takeover was hosted at the Fraser Lake market next to the Fraser Lake Shopping Centre. Up next, RDBN will be at the Southside market on Aug. 6, and then the Bulkley Valley farmer’s market in Smithers on Aug. 7.
“Connecting Consumers and Producers is a program that we have been operating since at least 2014. It’s a program that’s designed to help increase awareness of products that are available locally and increase the overall consumption and purchase of local products,” said Davis.
Davis and RDBN would also like to direct interested consumers to the webpage for Connecting Consumers and Producers, which has a link to a local food guide. The special goat in the image for the link is the mascot for this year’s program. The goat, from Totes Magoats goat farm in Houston, earned the nickname Vincent Van Goat by the RDBN team.
And there is also a link for the community events grants initiative, under the Connecting Consumers and Producers program. The deadline to apply was July 31, but RDBN still encourages interested people to apply, said Davis.