There are several environmental and social reasons to support your local farmer’s market this season. Farmer’s markets are important and joyful spaces for both farmers and eaters to connect with others who believe in the benefits of supporting local businesses. They are the perfect place to learn more about local and seasonal products and serve as an effective sales stream for farmers
Shopping at your community market guarantees you are directly supporting local businesses. Every dollar spent goes to growers and makers in your area helping to strengthen BC’s economy. By purchasing direct from local businesses and farmers, your money also secures agricultural land for years to come. The pandemic has shown us how fragile our food system can be. The easiest way to ensure BC’s local food system thrives is by supporting local farmers and producers. Jen Candela, Communications Manager for BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, says “It’s vital to the local economy and regional food system for people to support BC farms and producers. COVID-19 has shown us how precarious food security can be – regularly supporting the people who make, bake, and grow local food and keep our agricultural land in production ensures that we are building food security now and in the future.” You also reduce your environmental footprint by shopping locally because these items have not travelled great distances. Food and products sold at markets are often sourced from a few hundred kilometres or less which translates into emissions reductions.
Markets are a great opportunity to talk directly with those who grow and produce your food and other goods. Aurora View Farms sells their quality, local meat at several farmer’s markets in Vancouver. They practice regenerative farming, steward the land, and contribute positively to our climate. We asked co-owner, Lizzie L’Heureux why it is important to support local farmer’s markets and here is what she had to say:
“It’s important for people to support the local farmers’ markets because it’s an opportunity to support families who farm and have dedicated their lives to what they do. For example, we love telling our story and our customers even know our kids’ names. They know that they are supporting our family who are passionate about providing a source of ethically and organically raised beef, something that is not found in grocery stores. Selling at the market allows us to be open with our customers and answer any questions directly about how we raise our beef. Buying directly from farmers also encourages the growth of your local economy and is environmentally friendly. You can buy organic beef at big chain stores (Costco) from New Zealand & Australia- but how is flying products halfway around the globe environmentally sustainable?”
We recently visited the Kitsilano Farmers’ Market and were overjoyed with the abundance of fresh produce, baked goods, artisan jams, jellies, and sauces. For those heading to their local market this week, be mindful that your arrival time and location may dictate whether you have to wait in line before entering the market space. Don’t worry though, despite pandemic safety measures, it goes quickly and is so worth it! When you enter the market, you are greeted by friendly staff who are working hard to make sure your experience is both safe and enjoyable. We suggest visiting a baker and stocking up on tasty baked goods. Find something to fill up on while you walk around, a loaf of bread for the week ahead, and a treat for later in the day. Nothing beats walking through the farmer’s market and seeing all of the freshly harvested, seasonal produce. Thanks to BC’s diverse growing conditions, you can expect a wide variety of produce throughout the seasons.
There is nothing quite like a haul from your local market. Carrying home nutritious food and delicious artisan goods brings so much joy (and excitement to get home and start feasting)! With food this fresh, sometimes it is best to dive right in and eat the produce raw or take a bite right out of the loaf of bread. After Sunday’s market, a locally curated brunch seemed fitting. With fresh ingredients and 10 minutes of preparation, a lox toast with salad was so satisfying. Included in this dish was salmon lox from Blue Comet Seafoods, multigrain sourdough from Rising Knead Bakery, edible flowers from Fresh Quality Produce Ltd., red butter romaine from The Local Farm (dressed with Little Creek Dressing), and dill picked fresh from our community garden. Michele Barnabe from Blue Comet Seafoods feels the farmer’s market is an important space for farmers and producers to connect with community members and build their customer base.
“The market is a community, a place to meet with family and friends of all ages to shop for food at its finest and most flavorful. Above all, [a place] to connect and learn about how and where their food is produced,” says Barnabe.
Visit the BC Association of Farmers Markets’ website to find your nearest market and learn what is in season in your region!
Are you heading to the market this week or want to share a recent haul? Tag us on social media, we would love to see what you pick up!