Seeds have been sown for a new farmer’s market in downtown Salmon Arm that organizers hope will grow and flourish.
The market is being coordinated by the Shuswap Food Action Society (SAFS), with the support of Downtown Salmon Arm and city council. The planned start date is June 22, and it will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays until Sept. 21 at the Ross Street Plaza.
In a letter to Salmon Arm council, SAFS president Serena Caner said the purpose of the new downtown farmer’s market is to “increase access fresh local food; provide new farmers and food producers a place to sell their products; build community around local food; and promote transition to a more resilient and sustainable food system,” writes Caner.
In a separate letter to council, Downtown Salmon Arm manager Lindsay Wong states the group feels Ross Street Plaza is the ideal location for this ‘pilot’ market, with public washrooms, power, a stage, parking, flat surfaces and easy access for foot traffic.
Asked about other farmer’s markets in Salmon Arm and whether there might be any consideration of consolidation, Caner said, “we have a vision for a consolidated market, and that was offered out….”
“Shuswap Food Action Society took on this challenge, because we believe having a vibrant, cohesive market is important to support our local farmers and build community around food, and see ourselves as a neutral third party to undertake this challenge,” Caner explained via email. “Our motive is not financial, but in building community and supporting the local food movement.”
Regarding other popular Saturday morning markets in the region (Revelstoke and Sorrento among others), Caner hopes the new downtown Salmon Arm Farmer’s Market might lure local vendors who attend them back, while attracting smaller and newer farmers and food producers in the area.
“We are working towards a collaborative market that becomes your Saturday-morning routine; a community hub, where people want to bring their families; friends and pets can linger in our wonderful downtown core eating delicious artisanal baked goods, enjoying their coffees while their kids dance in the park,” said Caner. “We want families to go home with bags of locally-grown fruits and veggies, excited to explore all the tasty possibilities of healthy eating.
Salmon Arm council had no issue with the proposed market, and supported Caner’s request for permission to use Ross Street Plaza.
“Salmon Arm is long past due having a market on a Saturday,” commented Coun. Sylvia Lindgren. “It’s very exciting to know this is going to be downtown on a Saturday when many of us who work Monday to Friday will be able to attend.”
Caner said the next planning session for the market is at 1:30 p.m. at Uptown Askew’s on Friday, Feb. 1. SAFS is also hosting a community potluck at the Salmon Arm First United Church at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25.
For more information, visit shuswapfood.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org.