B.C.’s busy farmers market season has begun, and British Columbians are encouraged to Buy BC this summer by visiting their local farmers market in the province to find fresh produce, meat, locally prepared foods and artisan products.
“When Buy BC was relaunched last year, we wanted to make it easy for consumers to identify local foods and beverages and connect them to the people behind the fresh products they enjoy,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “Farmers markets are a great place to find some of the best local products and to meet the individuals growing, raising, processing and producing the food on their plates.”
Popham met with Katrina Dwulit, executive director and market manager from the Esquimalt Farmers Market, for a tour of the popular weekly market, which was awarded the Best Farmers’ Market in 2017 and 2018 by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM). BCAFM is a non-profit association representing over 145 member farmers markets around B.C.
“It is so fulfilling to be part of the local food security movement that is currently getting a lot more attention,” said Dwulit. “With programs like Buy BC shining a light on B.C. farmers and food processors, I hope a much-needed shift in the way we eat starts to be the norm versus a trend. Minister Popham has a clear passion for her role and everyone in local food systems is benefiting through the education and information that the ministry is putting forward, not to mention the funding.”
In addition, the province is supporting more lower-income households to access the fresh, locally grown, healthy food found at B.C. farmers markets through the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program. This program, delivered by BCAFM, allows British Columbians to connect with each other around food and community, while directly supporting local farmers throughout the province. Every dollar redeemed at a farmer’s market goes directly to the local farmer, grower and producer, and strengthens local economies.
“B.C. farmers markets are an incredible way for locals and tourists alike to connect and buy some of the best food B.C. has to offer,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BCAFM. “We are very proud of the recognition of the Ministry of Agriculture for the valuable work of farmers markets and the thousands of farmers who grow some of the best farm-fresh food B.C. has to offer.”
The Ministry of Agriculture has invested $32,000, in partnership with BCAFM, to help promote Buy BC at over 145 farmers markets throughout B.C. and encourage visitors to reach for B.C. products.
The Buy BC Partnership Program provides $2 million per year over the next three years to help eligible applicants with their marketing efforts using the Buy BC logo on their products or promotional materials.