Help keep farmers markets a priority in Vancouver


Dear Market Supporters,

The Draft Vancouver Plan dropped earlier this month and we need your help connecting farmers markets to the ideas and policies. The feedback survey closes on Sunday, and every voice and mention counts. 

Interested in helping but short on time?

Fill out the feedback survey for the Vancouver Plan and simply write “increase support for farmers markets” in the comment boxes. 

Have a little more time between now and Sunday? Read on! 

The city has been working on the Vancouver Plan – a document intended to guide municipal decisions and focus through 2050 and beyond and it’s up for comment until this Sunday, April 24. We’ve been engaged in some of the processes and need your help to draw connections between farmers markets and the Plan’s Foundational Principles, Big Ideas and Policy Directions. 

The plan has 3 Foundational Principles – Equity, Resilience and Reconciliation and 3 Big Ideas – Equitable Housing and Complete Neighbourhoods, an Economy that Works for All and Climate Protection and Restored Ecosystems. The city has further broken the plan down into Land Use Strategy and multiple Policy Directions.

Our organizational take on the Vancouver Plan is positive, and we can see a lot of different ways farmers markets can contribute to its success, but we need your help to connect the dots and make resourcing farmers markets a priority for the city.

Here’s a summary of where we think farmers markets fit into the plan (and a cheatsheet if you want more detail). 

Part 2: Land Use Strategy and Farmers Markets 

The Problem: After over 25 years, farmers markets still operate on year-to-year special event permits in under-serviced spaces. Our organization regularly advocates for long-term, accessible spaces with improved access to water, washrooms, bike racks, vendor parking, power and cover but with limited results. 

The Solution: The City of Vancouver recognizes farmers markets as essential services (the province already has!) and includes them in Community Infrastructure planning. Markets are neighbourhood amenities that operate in safe, welcoming and universally accessible spaces.

How YOU and the Vancouver Plan can help: Reference farmers markets in the comments section under Land Use Strategy – City-Wide Land Use Direction, Neighbourhood Types and Urban Design Policies. Ask planners to ensure farmers markets are prioritized in public space and community infrastructure planning

Part 3: Key Policies – By Topic (Food Systems, Economy, Community Infrastructure, Climate)

The Problem: Increasingly, at the City of Vancouver, farmers markets are overlooked as tools for pursuing equity and resilience in the food system. We understand that markets are community-based food initiatives with direct points of connection for producers and shoppers and create equitable spaces and economic opportunities for small businesses. However, the current municipal conversation starts and stops at markets as unaffordable and inaccessible for residents grocery shopping needs.

The Solution: Market vendors and shoppers help us connect the dots between key policy directions and farmers markets in our city. The Vancouver Plan implementation results in support for enhanced equity, resilience and reconciliation through farmers markets. 

Did you know? In 2021, our 9 neighbourhood markets facilitated more than 8200 opportunities for 280 small farms and producers (45 new entrant, 84 small farm, 106 women-owned, 37 youth-run, 30 non-profit) to connect with 367,398 neighbours (over 80% of whom traveled by foot, bike or transit) generating over $12M in direct sales (and millions of indirect benefits to our community, environment and economy), including $146K donated to support fresh food access for 473 low-income families, newcomers and seniors. All in the midst of a global pandemic and unprecedented climate and weather events. Farmers markets are essential! 

How YOU and the Vancouver Plan can help: Mention the importance of farmers markets under Key Policy directions, particularly in Food Systems, Economy, Community Infrastructure and Climate. Suggest that the City support farmers markets through leases and/or operating grants and address City regulations and practices that create barriers for small farms and producers.

Still reading? Here’s another link to the survey and our cheatsheet re: How “Farmers Markets” fit into the Vancouver Plan

Thanks for your support!