It’s the perfect place to buy fresh, locally grown produce.
But the Langley Community Farmers Market is so much more than that, says Angie Quaale. It’s an opportunity to educate children about the origins of their food and to support local farmers.
Speaking before Langley City council on March 18, Quaale, the market’s co-chair, offered thanks for a $5,000 community grant received from the City and said the money will be used to purchase equipment such as carts and to upgrade market infrastructure.
As the weekly farmers’ market prepares to begin its fifth season on Wednesday, May 22, organizers have signed another five-year memorandum of understanding with Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Quaale told council.
Originally located in the KPU parking lot along Glover Road, the market was moved to the opposite side of the campus, adjacent to the Langley Bypass.
Last year, it was relocated again to the centre court of the university campus — a move that has proved a bit problematic, said Quaale.
“We’ve had some challenges with visibility and signage,” she told council.
However vendors now have more access to electricity, which is a plus, she added.
Like most things, the market requires money to operate and so on Monday, LCFM hosted a long table dinner at Fat Cow and Oyster Bar.
The goal of the sold-out, four-course meal, which featured locally grown and produced food, was to raise between $8,000 and $10,000 for the market.
“We’re working hard to be sustainable — to be a market that has a little money in the bank, not scraping by,” said Quaale.
So far, she said, the effort appears to be paying off.
“The Langley Farmers Market is healthy and well supported by the community.”
In 2012 the LCFM tallied 612 vendor/booth days with an average of 31 vendors participating each week.
It welcomed 18,000 visitors throughout the season, an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year, working out to an average of about 900 people per week.
“There’s a lot of community participation in the market,” Quaale said.
Despite the presence of several community gardens, the City of Langley is not a large agricultural community, said Mayor Peter Fassbender. But having a farmers’ market helps bring urban residents into contact with local growers, he added.
Having producers and consumers come face-to-face, “puts a face to your food,” agreed Quaale.
“It helps kids understand that food doesn’t just come in a plastic bag, but that someone grew it,” she said.
“The object (of the weekly market) is to keep money here and feed our farmers,” Quaale said.
“I think they have the most important job in the world.”
For more information, go to langleyfarmersmarket.com.