Soap vendors are among the many non-food artisans who have been barred from attending farmers’ markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

Soap vendors are among the many non-food artisans who have been barred from attending farmers’ markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

Vernon chamber lobbies for non-food vendors at farmers’ markets

Artisans have been barred from attending markets during the pandemic since December

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is calling on the province to allow non-food vendors to return to farmers’ markets.

The chamber sent a letter to Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, the provincial health officer and local MLA Harwinder Sandhu to request a review of the current COVID-19 order that restricts artisans from attending B.C. farmer’s markets.

“Artisans and local producers rely on community farmers’ markets to offer goods, often without the ability to sell their products elsewhere. The market itself depends on the extra revenue from non-food vendors to operate;” said chamber president Krystin Kempton. “Without this, farmers’ markets and local food vendors, which are essential services, are at risk of shutting down as well.”

Non-food vendors have been barred from the markets since Dec. 3, 2020, but the chamber says they were a fundamental part of market operations last summer and fall. In those months, local farmer’s markets were busily adapting their layouts and safety plans to comply with the province’s health measures.

READ MORE: Non-food vendors ‘destroyed’ by banishment from B.C. farmers’ markets

Kempton said while the province has the chamber’s full support in their efforts to assist small business owners during the pandemic, non-food vendors need to be a part of that effort.

“Organizers of farmers’ markets have demonstrated their willingness and ability to ensure the safety of consumers and vendors,” Kempton said.

“There is no better example of the small business entrepreneurial spirit than those who produce food or non-food items for farmers’ markets. They are our friends, neighbours and family, and critical to local economies, particularly in the Interior.”

The B.C. government is set to announce updates to the health restrictions tomorrow (Feb. 5). Those announcements could be pivotal for markets which are now beginning their plans for the spring and summer seasons, while in many cases operating winter markets.

“The chamber encourages the government to make an immediate decision to permit non-food vendors at farmers’ markets,” Kempton said.

READ MORE: Okanagan home prices jump as real estate market heats up in January

READ MORE: Bylaw helps solve Enderby farmers’ coyote conundrum

Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jean Latval (left) and Elinor Turrill. (File photos)
Lumby community pillars to be honoured with commemorative bench

GoFundMe launched to help raise $2,500 to memorialize Jean Latval and Elinor Turnil

Life and Faith columnist Jim Taylor outlines some helpful tips for a fruitful conversation. (Lexi Bainas - Gazette file)
Taylor: Guidelines for discussions

Jim Taylor says don’t rely on external authorities in conversations with others

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

Const. Kevin Fuglewicz is the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s newest member of its Downtown Enforcement Unit. (Vernon North Okanagan RCMP photo)
Vernon RCMP add new downtown unit member

Const. Kevin Fuglewicz joins Downtown Enforcement Unit for rural north operations

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

Most Read