The Squamish’s Farmers’ Market pumps $1.8 million into the local economy every year, a figure that organizers say confirms the market’s value as an economic driver for the community.
The market, which has operated since 2005, takes place downtown on Saturdays from May to October and on selected Sundays during the cooler months at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Local market organizers have recently taken part in a province-wide study of the economic and community benefits of farmers’ markets.
In announcing the study’s results in a statement issued last Wednesday (Oct. 3), market organizers said almost 58,000 people visit the Squamish Farmers’ Market every year, including 2,550 on Aug. 18, the day researchers visited the market to survey visitors.
Of the 259 people surveyed, more than half said they visit the market either “regularly” (almost weekly) or “frequently” (two to three times per month).
“Although people know the market is a great place to buy fresh, local food,” market manager Carolyn Morris said in a statement, “the results of this study help us communicate to others how valuable the farmers’ market is to our community.”
Said Elizabeth Quinn, executive director of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM), “Farmers’ markets continue to serve as the face of farming in B.C. There has been significant growth in the number and vitality of farmers’ markets in B.C. and it is important to understand not only what they contribute but also how much they contribute to local neighbourhoods, cities and towns.”
The study was carried about by the BCAFM in collaboration with Dr. David Connell, a professor in the School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern B.C., organizers said.