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Vernon Farmers’ Market brings in people, dollars

B.C. study shows Vernon market brings in nearly $7.75 million in revenue, 144,000 people yearly
Zelaney Farms is one of dozens of vendors at the Vernon Farmers’ Market, a twice-weekly staple at Kal Tire Place that is a huge economic boom for the city. (Morning Star - file photo)

Vernon’s Farmers’ Market knows it plays a significant economic role within the city.

Now they have the numbers to back it up.

The market injects nearly $7.75 million every year into the local economy, according to a provincewide study of the economic benefits of farmers makets.

“Although people know the market is a great place to buy fresh, local food,” said Frances Callaghan, Vernon Farmers’ Market coordinator, “the results of this study help us communicate to others how valuable the farmers’ market is to our community.”

Approximately 144,000 people visit the farmers’ market annually and on the day of the study, June 29, roughly 2,802 people visited the market. About 152 of these visitors participated in the survey. Two-thirds of shoppers visit the market either ‘regularly’ (almost weekly) or ‘frequently’ (2-3 times per month).

The Vernon Farmers’ Market is participating in a province-wide study of the economic benefits of farmers markets.

“Farmers’ markets continue to serve as the face of farming in B.C.,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director of the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets. “There has been significant growth in the number and vitality of farmers’ markets in B.C. and it is important to understand not only what they contribute but also how much they contribute to local neighbourhoods, cities, and towns.”

“This project builds upon the results of a similar study we did in 2006 and in 2012,” said Dr. David Connell, a professor from the University of Northern B.C. in Prince George who is leading the project. “At the end of this project, we will be able to compare our results with these past studies to see how much has changed.”

For more than four decades, the Vernon Farmers’ Market has been a catalyst for community engagement, showcasing locally grown, made, or baked products.

Located in the back lot behind Kal Tire Place in the city’s north end, the market accommodates up to 120 vendors at its peak season. Visitors can explore an abundance of in-season fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, meat products, prepared meals, fresh cut flowers, handmade pottery, jewelry, and more.

Additionally, hot food and concession options are available, complemented by live entertainment. The market is renowned for the Thursday bread truck, offering award-winning European-style artisan breads. Even during off-peak times, a minimum of 40 vendors participate, allowing shoppers to find their preferred farmers year-round.

The project is carried out by the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets in collaboration with Connell. Financial assistance was provided by the B.C. Association of Farmers’ Markets and the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

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Jennifer Smith

About the Author: Jennifer Smith

Vernon has always been my home, and I've been working at The Morning Star since 2004.
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