Annual farmer’s market conference coming to Victoria

From March 2–4, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) will celebrate all things local at their annual conference, Growing Together, and Farmers’ Market Awards Gala in Victoria.

More than 150 farmers’ market organizers, farmers, artisans, community leaders and local food enthusiasts from across the province are expected to take part in workshops, roundtable sessions, and networking events.

The conference, which is open to the public, includes more than 15 sessions with topics that range from food safety and the new BC organic regulations to non-profit board governance, social media strategy, creating waste-free community events and how small farmers can be successful at farmers’ markets.

Tickets can be purchased for individual workshops and networking events, or the full conference weekend.

Speakers include Steve Walker Duncan, vice president of the Island Chefs Collaborative and chef educator with Growing Chefs; co-founders of Food Bloggers of Canada, Ethan Adeland and Melissa Hartfiel; and Jen Gamble of the Certified Organic Associations of BC. The conference and festivities are organized by the BCAFM in partnership with three local Victoria area farmers’ markets: Esquimalt, James Bay, and Moss Street.

Highlights of the weekend will include the fifth annual Farmers’ Market Awards Gala, which will feature a locally sourced dinner, and recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to BC’s farmers’ market sector and local food system. The top farmers’ markets, market manager, vendor, volunteer and community partner of 2017 will be honoured at the Awards Gala, Saturday, March 3 at the Inn at Laurel Point.

The recipient of the first annual Mary Forstbauer Grant will also be announced at the Gala. The grant is in honour of the late Mary Forstbauer, who was a founding member and president of the BCAFM and a long-time leader in the farmers’ markets and organic farming communities in BC. The grant will be presented to a BC farmer that sells at farmers’ markets, for the implementation of a new initiative to strengthen their farm.

Local food enthusiasts and members of the public and media are invited to attend the full conference, or register for a single workshop, or networking event. Tickets and information are available on the BCAFM website.

The BCAFM is a registered society that represents over 145 farmers’ markets across BC. Its mission is to develop, promote and strengthen the capacity of farmers’ markets in all regions of the province. Visit www.bcfarmersmarket.org to learn more or find a farmers’ market near you.