Feds back B.C. farmers’ markets

The federal government has pledged over $200,000 for efforts to boost the public profile of farmers’ markets in British Columbia.

Speaking Saturday in Burnaby, B.C. MP James Moore announced $219,000 for a strategic plan for farmers’ markets, funded through the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) program, delivered in the province through the Investment Agriculture Foundation (IAF) of B.C.

The goal of the strategic plan for the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) will be to improve the public image of farmers’ markets as well as the management skills and capacity of market managers, vendors and boards.

“Farmers’ markets are one of the fastest growing opportunities for farmers to build their market share and make their farms sustainable,” BCAFM president Mary Forstbauer said in a government release Saturday.

The funding, she said, will allow the BCAFM to “continue to build capacity for farmers’ markets in the province.”

Farmers’ markets in B.C. contribute “significantly” to farm incomes and to the economies of communities in which they operate, the government said.

The release cited a 2006 study by the University of Northern British Columbia, which found that B.C. farmers’ markets contributed $118.5 million annually to the provincial economy, with $65.3 million per year spent at the markets and another $53.2 million at neighbouring businesses.

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