A recent study shows the Vernon Farmers Market has an economic impact of $3.5 million a year.

A recent study shows the Vernon Farmers Market has an economic impact of $3.5 million a year.

Vernon Farmers Market an economic force

Besides cherries, lettuce and carrots, the Vernon Farmers Market is also raising a lot of dough.

Besides cherries, lettuce and carrots, the Vernon Farmers Market is also raising a lot of dough.

A recent study indicates the market pumps close to $3.35 million into the local economy annually.

“Although people know the market is a great place to buy fresh, local food, the results of this study help us communicate to others how valuable the farmers’ market is to our community,” said Wayne Seabrook, market manager.

About 100,000 people visit the farmers market annually and on the day of the study, June 21,  1,716 people were at the market.

About 326 of these individuals participated in the survey.

More than two-thirds of shoppers visit the market either regularly (almost weekly) or frequently (two to three times per month).

The results of this year’s assessment show that the market has grown significantly since 2006.

According to Seabrook, the increase is a result of a growing public awareness about the impact of local food on the environment and local economy.

“The Vernon Farmers Market is one of the oldest farm markets in the Okanagan and is regarded as one of the very best,” he said.

More than 100 growers and artisans a year take part in the market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday and Thursday at Wesbild Centre.

“Buskers and live entertainment often add to the cheerful atmosphere and special event Mondays are featured every long weekend,” said Seabrook.

The local study is part of a provincewide assessment of the impact of markets on the economy.

“This project builds upon the results of a similar study we did in 2006,” said David Connell, a professor from the University of Northern B.C. who is leading the provincial project.

“At the end of this project we will be able to compare our results to see how much has changed over the past six years.”