Thursday July 24, 2014

B.C. farmers markets group to meet in Kamloops

'Great time for everyone involved in farmers markets to learn from each other'
Keith Anderson

Tranquille Farm salesman Raj Uppal is shown at the farmers market in this file photo.

Talk of food will be on the table March 1-3 when the B.C. Association of Farmers Markets holds its annual gathering at Hotel 540.

The conference and AGM is aimed at farmers, small-scale food processors, crafters, market manager and board members.

Michael Ableman, Salt Spring Island farmer and author of Fields of Plenty, will be the keynote speaker. Ableman is founder of Sole Food Street Farms and operates Foxglove Farm, where he directs the Centre for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture.

A Taste of Kamloops, a reception at Terra Restaurant with Chef David Tombs, opens the event on March 1.

The conference offers sessions on public relations, risk management, social media, advocacy and the association’s market nutrition coupon program, as well as special roundtables for vendors, managers and board members.

“The annual conference is a great time for everyone involved in farmers markets to learn from each other about how to best move forward,” said Elizabeth Quinn, executive director.

She cited a 2012 UNBC study, which found that direct sales at farmers markets increased 147 per cent between 2006 and 2012, from $46 million to $113 million.

It’s timed to precede the market season, which begins here in late April with the first Saturday Kamloops Farmers Market. In addition to the Wednesday market in downtown Kamloops, other farmers markets are held in North Kamloops and Barriere on a regular basis.

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