During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is helping member markets move to an online model to continue providing consumers with locally grown and prepared food products.
The 145 BCAFM member farmers markets operating in British Columbia play a key role in many communities’ food supply and support the livelihood of many farmers and their families. These markets 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.
British Columbians can find a farmers market near them and see which markets have launched online operations in the weeks and months ahead at: https://bcfarmersmarkettrail.com/
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.
The funding is part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC program. Buy BC helps farmers, ranchers and producers market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced, making it easy for British Columbians to Buy BC.
- As they open, information about active BC Farmers’ Markets Online will be added to this website. This website will also have up-to-date information on the markets operating in the community.
- More about Buy BC: https://buybc.gov.bc.ca/
- Apply to be a member of the BCAFM: https://bcfarmersmarket.org/membership/farmers-market-membership/
- For an example of an online farmers market, visit: https://www.localline.ca/click-fork
B.C. farmers markets during COVID-19
All BCAFM markets currently operating in B.C. have put the following protocols in place to help ensure the health and safety of vendors, organizers and customers:
- The majority of farmers markets are outdoors and implementing measures to limit the number of people allowed in one area at the same time.
- Ensuring the availability and regular use of handwashing stations with soap or hand sanitizer.
- Markets have eliminated unnecessary activities, such as food sampling, food demos and social activities.
- Regular cleaning and sanitizing of high touch surfaces.
- Organizers, vendors or shoppers are asked not to attend the market if sick or feeling any symptoms of sickness.
- Clearly defining the space where and how farmers markets operate to ensure physical distancing, including:
- minimizing entry/exit points to better control frequency and number of shoppers;
- limiting and managing lineups to ensure social distancing protocols;
- ensuring adequate distance between vendor booths set up;
- directing traffic through the market (e.g., chalk markings on ground, ropes, barriers and other markers); and
- encouraging cashless payments.
- The BC Farmers’ Market Online strategy will enable member farmers markets to establish new pick-up and delivery practices/protocols to modify their physical market locations as pick-up points. Online farmers markets will also enable vendor-direct-to-consumer delivery at some markets.
- These measures are ongoing and still unfolding as markets adapt and launch.
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