COVID-19: Launch of Essential Services Farmers Market - Postponed to Tuesday, April 21

The Salt Spring Community Market Society is postponing the launch of the ‘Essential Services Farmers Market’ to Tuesday, April 21 after consultations with various stakeholders including the local CRD Emergency Program.

The special purpose market was slated to open Saturday, April 11 at Centennial Park and had received authorization from the Capital Regional District which owns the land.  While the authorizations are still in place, it was felt that Tuesdays would be a better vehicle for the new market format given that the regular Tuesday market is limited to food products.

The Essential Services Farmers Market will provide direct access to food grown and made on Salt Spring, strengthening our food security and providing a direct link between food producers and Salt Spring residents. The market will have strict physical distancing and hygiene measures in place to meet the Provincial Health Officer’s requirements.

The Province has designated farmers’ markets as an essential service, but has limited them to food and beverage sales, with specific restrictions. They are a place to access food, not for groups to gather.

The Market Society has also developed an online food hub for market vendors to safely sell their produce directly to Salt Spring residents.  Island growers are now learning the new platform and placing their products in the new virtual storefront.  The site is beginning to attract a lot of traffic looking for additional ways to access fresh, island grown produce and is growing every day.  The site will make it easy for shoppers to pay for their produce online, and pick it up on a Tuesday once the new Market is up and running.

This article was drafted by the Salt Spring Business and Farm Response & Recovery Task Force  which is made up of local community leaders representing Salt Spring businesses, growers, non-governmental organizations and local officials.   The Task Force has been established to further support the Salt Spring community during COVID-19. Working in collaboration with the CRD and the Province, its goal is to ensure island-wide coordination and action related to the economic impacts to Salt Spring Island as a result of the pandemic.

The Salt Spring Community Market Society is a non-profit volunteer-directed society that seeks to improve local access to Salt Spring food products. The members of the society are working to ensure access to local food during these challenging times. They hope that the regular Saturday Market in the Park, with its wide range of vendors, will be able to return soon.

April 9, 2020 12:52 PM

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