Advocating for a Farmers Market in East Park Planning

In November 2022, as the East Park planning unfolded, Vancouver Farmers Markets rallied its community in the False Creek area to participate in a survey, advocating for the inclusion of space for a farmers market in the park’s plans. This effort was documented in a previous blog post that highlighted the market’s journey and its deep connection with the local community.

The Journey of Vancouver Farmers Markets around False Creek

Since its inception in 2009, Vancouver Farmers Markets has navigated various locations in and around the False Creek area. Initially stationed at Main St Station, the market later moved to Concord Community Park, adapting graciously to displacement challenges during the construction of the New St. Paul’s Hospital. The ongoing support from the community has been instrumental in this journey of resilience and adaptability.

False Creek Market in 2023

During the summer of 2023, the market relocated to the seawall, receiving resoundingly positive feedback from vendors and shoppers alike. Seeing the success of the market and interest of shoppers & vendors alike, the market will return on Thursdays from June 6 to October 3, 2024, at Creekside Park South (a part of the future East Park).

What next? 

The two preliminary proposed concepts – Braid and Breathe are now shared with the community for their feedback. These concept designs have been shaped by the Northeast False Creek Guiding Principles together with what they heard from the local Nations and the community during the first round of engagement held in the fall of 2022.

How You Can Help?

Your support is crucial in advocating for a farmers market at East Park. Your voice matters in shaping a vibrant and inclusive community space. Farmers Markets, currently could be considered as “seasonal produce markets” in the plans, though it is not clear that is the intention of the space. In an ideal world, the False Creek community, which loves and needs its farmers market, would have access to local & seasonal food via its local farmers market. While the farmers market operators, VFM, have not yet been engaged, we ask the False Creek community to take 5-10 minutes to complete the online survey by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation before it closes on April 16, 2024.

The survey asks a number of questions about the two proposed concepts in an effort to refine the final design. While there is no direct question about a farmers market but there are some areas we identify important to be able to operate a farmers market are:

  • Paved Plaza Areas
  • Flexible Space for Community Events
  • Social Areas for Sharing Food
  • Car Free Block of Ontario St

There are a few open ended questions and in particular question 15 where you can share more about what you want to see in East Park. If you support a farmers market in East Park we ask you show your support by asking for a permanent space that has been intentionally designed to work for a farmers market (including enough paved area for 45 tents, access to power, water, vehicle access, etc.) – avoiding future displacements.

Farmers Markets – Imagine the Possibilities

Consider the values associated with the East Park planning process—belonging, openness, safety, inclusivity, flexibility, and distinctiveness. Vancouver Farmers Markets embodies these values in their space, exploring connections with their communities, addressing racial and cultural inequities, and fostering authentic partnerships and programming rooted in the local food.

Farmers Markets have the potential to serve as the hub of local food culture, offering fresh produce, baked goods, and more throughout the summer months. This vision aligns with accessibility goals, making nutritious food accessible to diverse groups, including seniors, expectant parents, and participants in nutrition coupon programs.

Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation’s online survey before it ends on April 16, 2024. We are counting on the community’s backing to incorporate farmers markets into the future of the East Park.