Artisan Farmers Market Society has been a member of the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets for around 20 years, but what does this mean for consumers and vendors?
As a matter of fact, our Society’s co-founder, Mary Forstbauer, initiated the founding of the BCAFM.
Today, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets represents over 145+ member farmers’ markets in communities across BC. They are committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of farmers’ markets through training, promotion, education, research and advocacy.
Meet your Maker!
As a consumer, when you visit a BCAFM farmers’ market, you can be assured that you will be meeting and speaking with the people who make, bake, grow and forage the food and products available at the market. It’s likely the farmers you meet will have picked the produce early that day or the night before so it’s fresh. As well, you’ll meet the person involved in making hat bar soap and they can tell you the process they used and what’s in it. The baked goods you are getting were baked especially for the market, in a health board approved and inspected kitchen. The vendors can all tell you about their growing practices or the ingredients in their foods, which can be especially important if you have food sensitivities.
As per their mandate, BCAFM supports BC farmers’ markets, growers, food processors and artisans for a vibrant local food system. Therefore, member farmers’ markets must adhere to the association’s policy including being comprised exclusively (100%) of vendors who grow, make, bake, raise or wild harvest the products they sell, all of which products must be grown or processed in British Columbia. Consequently, BCAFM member farmers’ markets offer a unique purchasing experience where every dollar goes to local growers, makers, bakers and strengthens the local economy. By purchasing direct from farmers, you are voting with your dollar to support small, local growers, and safeguarding BC’s foodlands for future generations.
In a nutshell, at our markets, you can Meet Your Maker!
For a market to be a member of the BCAFM, they must adhere to strict guidelines.
As a vendor or market member of the BCAFM a number of benefits are available to you. You can learn more about these on the BCAFM website.
Programs for the Community
One of the BCAFM Programs that we take part in, which provides great benefit to the local community is the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program which sees us part with local non-profits to distribute farmers’ market coupons distributed to lower-income families, pregnant women and seniors within the community. Each household enrolled in the program is eligible to receive a minimum of $21/week in coupons which can be spent on vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, cut herbs, meat and fish. It’s a really win-win-win for the community members, the vendors, and the market.
If you want to learn more about the farmers’ market movement, consider attending the annual BCAFM conference in Harrison Hot Springs, March 6-8.