The vision of backers behind Squamish’s Farmers’ Market reaches far beyond fresh vegetables and fruit. They hope to plant the event in the fabric of the community’s future.
“Our long-term plan is to have a year-round location that has a roof,” said the market’s manager, Carolyn Morris.
It’s a goal the market’s board is seeking to root in the District of Squamish’s Official Community Plan (OCP), making it an authoritative goal for the whole community. The timing couldn’t be better, as the district is set to review its OCP this year.
Morris hopes Squamish residents welcome the change. During the past five years, the market has doubled its vendors, Morris said, adding besides the 63 booths the market can accommodate, there’s a waiting list. This year, the market has 128 vendors enrolled.
Last year the summer market vendors boasted combined sales of more than $500,000. The market is an incubator for small business in town, Morris said. When Morris started as manager in 2007, finding farmers with produce was a bit tricky. Now, there are more than 22.
“It has been really interesting to watch it grow,” she said, adding the expansion speaks to a change in awareness and consumer empowerment.
Market organizers need the public to help them reach the non-profit organization’s strategic plan objectives. A Friend of the Market program has been set up to aid in this vision. For $20, the ground level program gives customers access to special market deals, a weekly e-newsletter, a bumper sticker and an invitation to the annual Friend Appreciation Day barbecue.
“As our market continues to grow, besides our consistent regulars, we have an amazing diversity of vendors each week,” Morris added. “There is always something new at the market. And whether (people) are shopping or simply enjoying the community atmosphere, it’s a great place to check out.”
This July at Squamish’s Farmers’ Market, shoppers will also have the chance to win a three-night getaway for two at a prestigious Okanagan resort. The gift package is part of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCFM) Meet My Market campaign to increase visitors to the province’s markets. For more information visit www.bcfarmersmarket.org.