It is not your typical walk through displays of fruit and veggies, but you will soon be able to shop at your favourite farmers’ markets, online.
The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is helping member markets move to an online shopping model to sell their locally grown and prepared food products. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, this will help maintain social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and make it easier for residents to buy products from local growers.
“It’s important to support your community and each other during this time of uncertainty, and a virtual shopping trip to a farmers market is an easy way to get the groceries on your list and to Buy BC, while ensuring physical distancing measures are being followed,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture.
“Moving farmers markets online will help ensure the health and safety of vendors and consumers, while still providing the same fresh and local food that families all over the province count on.”
All 145 BCAFM member farmers’ markets are eligible to receive funding to help transition them to an online market platform, which will allow them to continue selling to their communities.
“The critical importance and resiliency of local food and farmers have never been clearer than now, and B.C. farmers markets are an essential retail sales channel for British Columbians to access local food and sustain the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and food processors across our province,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BCAFM.
“Our new BC Farmers’ Markets Online platform will offer a new shopping channel for the peak farmers market season this summer.”
The B.C. government is giving $55,000 to the BCAFM to cover fees for each market to join the online platform and set up their virtual stores.
This is all part of the Ministry of Agriculture’s Buy BC program. Buy BC helps farmers, ranchers and producers market their products as locally grown, raised, harvested or produced, making it easy for British Columbians to Buy BC.
You can find a BC farmers’ market in your area and see which markets have launched online operations in the weeks and months ahead at the BC’s Farmers’Market Trail website.
As far as other locally-owned businesses, earlier Friday the federal government announced it would also be helping small businesses with a 75% wage subsidy.