For Immediate Release
April 19, 2012
Ministry of Agriculture
Province funds farmers’ markets five-year plan
VICTORIA – A $75,000 grant from the Province will enable B.C.’s farmers’ markets to better meet British Columbians’ growing demand for fresh and local foods.
The funds will be used by the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets to help implement their 2011-16 strategic plan to ensure a network of 125 markets throughout the province continue to connect British Columbians with farmers and food producers. The number of farmers markets in B.C. has more than doubled since 2000. This rapid growth has played a leading role in promoting awareness and support for eating local foods.
While some markets run year-round, most begin or increase activity with the milder weather and new spring produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables, locally raised meats, sustainably caught seafood, artisan cheeses, jams, sauces, honey and even dog treats are examples of products commonly sold at markets. B.C. Association of Farmers' Markets vendors make, bake or grow their products and only producers and their families are permitted to sell at their markets.
The Ministry of Agriculture recently launched B.C.’s Agrifoods Strategy as part of the BC Jobs Plan. The strategy sets out a five-year action plan to promote local food and farming, the growth of B.C’s high-quality, high-value food products, and the expansion of both domestic and international markets.
Agriculture Minister Don McRae –
“B.C. farmers’ markets are one of the best advocates of the local food movement and a great place for large and small food entrepreneurs to grow their agri-businesses. Across B.C., from Hudson Hope to the Comox Valley, vendors and visitors alike celebrate local food and agriculture. This year’s grant supports our Agrifoods Strategy commitment to promote local food and expand domestic markets.”
B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets executive director Elizabeth Quinn –
“The funding is terrific news and will help us implement our strategic plan. By strengthening farmers' markets and supporting local farmers, we help make healthy local food available to British Columbian families and children, so B.C. foods are on B.C. plates.”
· In 2006, B.C. farmers’ markets contributed an estimated $118 million to B.C.’s economy. As the number of markets has increased since then, so likely has their economic contribution.
· B.C. is Canada’s most diverse agricultural province, producing more than 200 different commodities on nearly 20,000 farms.
· Produce at farmers markets is often picked the same day as it is sold.
· More than 61,000 British Columbians work in the agrifoods sector, and contributed to the $10.5-billion worth of products grown or made in B.C. in 2011.
· The Province also provided a $75,000 grant for the implementation of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets 2011-2016 strategic plan in 2011.
· To find a farmers market in your area, visit: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org
· To find out what produce is in season, visit: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/inseason.htm
· The BCAFM’s strategic plan is posted at:
· The Strategy behind B.C. Agrifoods sector growing from $10.5 billion to $14 billion: http://www.gov.bc.ca/agri/agrifoodsstrategy.html
· Follow all things related to B.C. foods and agriculture at: http://www.facebook.com/FoodsBC
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Agriculture
BC Association of Farmers' Markets
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect