Okanagan group weighs year-round produce market

A Kelowna organization will use federal funds to study the viability of a year-round public market for local produce.

Western Economic Diversification Canada announced Tuesday it would put up $72,280 toward such a study by the Okanagan Valley Public Market Society, with an eye toward improving area producers’ cash flow throughout the full year.

The society plans to determine the economic viability of a year-round public market focused on locally-grown produce and products, and should it prove feasible, the project will move ahead to identify potential locations and create a “strategic action plan.”

“An all-season public market would strengthen the Okanagan economy by allowing community vendors to better fulfill demand for local products,” WED said in a release.

“Currently many producers struggle because they shut down over the winter months,” society president Sharon Hughes-Geekie said in the WED release Tuesday.

“A public market is a win-win for consumer and producer. It provides the consumer with easy access to local product and encourages agricultural producers and artisans to diversify their product offerings by providing a year-round venue from which to sell.”

The society bills itself as a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of creating a local public market, and contributing to the region’s growing economy by supporting local agriculture, regionally-owned food-related businesses and “creative products.”

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