Farmers’ Market an integral piece of Valley economic puzzle

More than $1.2 million in direct sales to local food producers in 2014

  • Aug. 12, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

 

The award-winning Farmers’ Market has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the Valley more than two decades ago.

Besides drawing more patrons and vendors, the CVFMA has added a mid-week market, a downtown evening market and created a bursary for new farmers. This year, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets recognized it as the best large market of the year (61-plus vendors per week).

In a Tuesday update to Courtenay council, CVFMA executive director Vickey Brown said the mid-week market has maxed out at 31 vendors on England Avenue, where hundreds of people gather on Wednesday mornings in the summer.

“Last year, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, all of our markets combined, facilitated more than $1.2 million in direct sales to local food producers,” she said, noting the proliferation of markets throughout B.C. “Farmers’ markets have exploded in the last five years or so.”

Brown said markets have a huge economic impact on communities — in terms of job creation and business development — and on the farm community as a whole. They also generate sales for neighbouring businesses.

“When you host the Wednesday market, that typically draws between 400 and 600 people to the downtown core. If each of them spends $20 that’s a decent amount of money coming to downtown businesses.”

Brown notes a social benefit associated with markets, which act as a meeting place for people.

“There’s a lot of synergy that happens at a farmers’ market,” she said.

In conjunction with the BCAFM and the provincial government, the CVFMA runs a nutrition coupon program. Each week, more than 60 families and 20 seniors are given $15 worth of coupons to spend at the market.

“That brings a whole new set of people who may or may not make it out to the Farmers’ Market, or maybe not able to afford it,” Brown said.

A downtown Thursday evening market has been added this year, as has a Saturday market shuttle to the Exhibition Grounds on Headquarters Road.

The CVFM membership consists of 96 vendors, 56 of whom are meat and vegetable farmers.

“Those 56 farmers generated more than $600,000 in revenue directly from the market last year on just over 1,200 acres of land,” Brown said.

The Saturday winter market has become an indoor/outdoor affair at the Native Sons Hall, which Brown said has been “bursting at the seams.” Last season, it had a weekly average of about 45 vendors.

Also last year, the association gave a pair of $500 bursaries to new farmers. One used the money to install irrigation and the other used it to expand production.

The association is still looking for a permanent space that could host a year-round market.

For more information visit www.cvfm.ca.

 

Just Posted

The CF Snowbirds in action. (Erin Haluschak photo)
Homecoming for B.C.-raised Snowbirds pilot training in the province

Capt. Arpit Mahajan flies Snowbird 2 in his first year as a solo pilot with the team

Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North is accepting homeownership applications for its next build. Photo supplied
Habitat for Humanity prepares for next build in Courtenay

A forever home for some, a step forward for others

The development permit application for the back of a property at 2522 Dunsmuir Ave has now been approved by council. Record file photo
Cumberland approves secondary home permit second time around

Mayor Leslie Baird said the applicant’s additional drawings provided more info for her

This house at 1514 Trumpeter Cres. is currently for sale, with a disclaimer that the property was used for a cannabis grow operation in the past. Photo by Record staff
Drug trafficking at Courtenay residence nets over $250K forfeiture

Ruling comes from a search warrant executed in 2016 on Trumpeter Crescent home

The inaugural board meeting for the last UBID board was held online May 6. Screenshot, Zoom meeting
Union Bay board says no to ‘No’ side committee addition

Community is preparing to move its services to regional district for July

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

A nurse asks screening questions at an immunization appointment in Nanaimo earlier this year. (Shawn Wagar/Island Health photo)
Island Health appreciates nurses answering the call in challenging times

Health authority draws attention to National Nursing Week

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)

Most Read