The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets has re-launched a guide to all 145 farmers’ markets across the province, including the two in Revelstoke.
The BC Farmers’ Market Trail initiative is a free online tool for locals and tourists. It has information for all the markets within the association from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Northern BC, Sunshine Coast to the Kootenay Rockies & Columbia Basin and Vancouver Island.
“People in Revelstoke will know about their market, they might not know there is an awesome farmers market in Smithers or Creston,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director of BC Association of Farmers’ Market.
She continued that it’s an educational opportunity for people to shop and support markets across the province.
|Terra Firma sells produce locally grown in Revelstoke at the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative Farm & Craft Market. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)|
Each market, must adhere to the association’s philosophy that the food or craft must be grown, produced, or made by that farmer.
“We’re not a wholesaler or distributor. We do not allow reselling,” O’Hara said.
Each of the 145 markets has a different flavour, said O’Hara, depending on the vendors. According to the association’s website the Revelstoke Local Food Initiative Farm & Craft Market focuses on “super-local Revelstoke producers”. One farmer, Terra-Firma is less than one kilometre away and certified organic spirits, Monashee Spirits, just a block away.
The Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market, located a block over in Grizzly Plaza, is similar, with fruits, vegetables, hot food, baked goods and crafts.
O’Hara said farmers’ markets are essential to supporting a local economy.
According to the association’s website, farmer market sales grew more than 140 per cent between 2006 and 2012 in B.C. O’Hara said in the last 15 years, the amount of people have more than doubled.
The Revelstoke Local Food Initiative Farm & Craft Market estimate at the height of summer, there is roughly 4,000 visiting each market day. They have a capacity of 30 stalls, however there are between 60 to 70 applications per year.
Kate Borucz, market manager, said they have thought about expanding into the 300 block of Mackenzie Ave, but since they are only three years old, they might be still too young to take the plunge.
In 2017, the U.N. released a report that raised serious concerns on food security. The report estimates that by 2050, the global population will be 10 billion, with demands for agricultural production of up to 50 per cent above present levels, which will create substantial strains on food production.
Local farmers are significant for local food security O’Hara said.
“So we’re not reliant on food from elsewhere.”
Farming is not easy and at many times unpredictable.
“Farmers are really the most unsung heroes in the world,” said O’Hara.
To be successful, farmers need to have a huge knowledge base she continued. For example, they need to have a good handle on climate, seeds, crops, weather and pest management.
On top of that, shoppers are usually looking for the lowest price.
“However, when you shop at a farmers’ market, you’re buying directly from the farmer. That business is getting money directly in their pockets.”
It’s important supporting people that make food, so they continue to do so.
“Otherwise, we’re forced to go elsewhere for food,” O’Hara said.
The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets currently has a photo contest. Anyone can enter, just snap a photo at any farmers’ market and post it to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #FarmersFeedMe and tag @bcfarmersmarket.
Both Revelstoke markets are on Mackenzie Ave. downtown on Saturdays from 8:30 to 1:00 pm. They will run until Oct. 26.