B.C. government will support the online transition for farmers’ markets
The B.C. Farmers’ Markets Online platform is opening soon and will let customers find markets near them and their respective online operations.
By Stephanie Gordon
The B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is helping its members move to an online model to continue providing consumers with locally grown and prepared food products during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
“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 B.C., while ensuring physical distancing measures are being followed,” said Lana Popham, the province’s minister of agriculture, in a press release.
The 145 BCAFM member farmers markets operating in British Columbia 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.
“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,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BCAFM.
British Columbians can find a farmers market near them and see which markets have launched online operations in the weeks and months ahead at: bcfarmersmarkettrail.com.
Click Fork, which uses Local Line to set up its online store, is an example of what an online farmers’ market can look like for B.C. markets.
Farmers markets in the province have been declared an essential service and are allowed to remain open, but have all taken steps to incorporate social distancing. For example, limiting how many people are allowed in indoor markets. Some outside markets, like Kelowna’s Farmers and Crafters Market, have already listed vendor information for customers to find alternative ways to connect with the market’s vendors.
Throughout the province, farmers markets are working with authorities to provide both physical and virtual options. BC Farmers Market Online from BCAFM is one platform that will allow customers to find their local market and shop online.
The government funding is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC program. The Buy BC program helps farmers, ranchers and producers market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced.