Help us bring back soap and flowers!
Dear VFM Community,
As many of you know, non-food vendors were taken off the list of approved products for farmers markets in December – a time when many of our artisans rely on craft fairs (cancelled), holiday events (cancelled) and markets for over 50% of their annual income. Many of you had to rely on online shopping platforms to support local artisans (and many did – thank you!) but the last minute decision was crippling for many.
We were shocked. We had been working closely with the BC Association of Farmers Markets who are in regular conversation with the BCCDC. We had all successfully brought non-food vendors back to markets from June to November 2020 – no one saw it coming.
Ever since December, we have been working to bring “non-food” back. We have yet to receive an explanation for what makes buying a cutting board at a farmers markets more of a health risk than buying one at a grocery chain. If non-food items were restricted from in-person shopping in all jurisdictions, we would acknowledge that it is a necessary part of responding to the pandemic. However, farmers markets are unique in their restriction of non-food – malls and high streets are full of large chains that are able to sell imported household items, soaps and exotic flowers without restriction.
Vancouver Farmers Markets believes in working partnerships and relationships with governing authorities and decision-makers. We are not interested in generating negativity or frustration.
However, we are surprised that we have not seen the return of non-food yet and the nursery and flower season is upon us. Removing non-food just before the holidays in December was a huge blow to our local artisans. Waiting until after the nursery and flower season to return non-food will be an equally devastating blow to our local growers.
A couple of our flower farmers have put together a petition and you can sign RIGHT HERE. Also, if you’re able, please consider writing to your MLA:
- Identify as a community member who has benefited from a farmers market through the pandemic
- Vouch for the safety of the farmers market outdoor shopping experience
- Support the return of non-food items to farmers markets by mid-March
- Thank them for identifying farmers markets essential and allowing us to continue
You can find your MLA and their emails here: https://www.leg.bc.ca/learn-about-us/members.
Thank you for your ongoing support of farmers markets,
Laura Smit | Executive Director
P.s. Read letter for Honourable Ministers Popham and Dix here: Request for Return of Non-Food to Farmers Markets by Mid-March