On March 8-10, 2019, hundreds of farmers, vendors and farmers market managers, mixed with a few local and provincial government reps, non-profits and food-related businesses, came together in the East Kootenay town of Kimberley for the annual conference of the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets. The three-day event was jam-packed with social events, workshops, keynotes and lots of delicious fare!
Saturday morning’s plenary on elevating the BC Farmers’ Markets brand was delivered by industry professionals including Heather O’Hara, Executive Director of BCAFM, followed by a presentation on food safety. Attendees had the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of workshops during the break-out sessions.
Themes were varied and included such topics as social media marketing, developing a Farmers’ Market in rural and remote areas, photography, profitability tools to help vendors, small business valuation and succession tools, and Farmers’ Markets as incubators, among many more.
The Young Agrarians Land Matcher for the Columbia Basin presented a workshop on the BC Land Matching Program and land access agreements and regulations. This workshop brought out about 15 people from across the province to discuss land and their different land-related needs during an intro circle following the presentation. It was a great opportunity to hear from farmers, vendors and others about their diverse positions in regards to land use, ownership and access.
The BCAFM showed everyone a great time, organizing a networking social on Friday night at the local curling club. Attendees got to try their hand at this great Canadian sport and indulge in local snacks and sweets.
On Saturday night, the BCAFM Best of 2018 awards ceremony celebrated farmers, market managers and vendors from across the province. Amongst the many amazing winners, the host region was well represented, with wins in several categories: Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Farmer’s Market won small market of the year, manager of the year went to Miche Warwick from the Rossland Mountain Market, (non-farmer) vendor of the year was awarded to Blackbird Bakehouse operating out of the Cranbrook, Fernie, and Kimberley markets, and volunteer of the year going to Clarence Selden and Dion Langevin from the Cranbrook Farmer’s Market.
Young Agrarians would like to congratulate everyone who was nominated and who won their categories. Thank you for BCAFM for inviting Young Agrarians to participate in this fun-filled, informative and inspiring weekend and to the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Columbia Basin Trust for the support provided to participate in this event.