Letter in Support of Farmers Markets
Feb. 16, 2021
Premier of B.C.
Minister of Health
Dr. Bonnie Henry
Provincial Health Officer
MLA for Boundary - Similkameen
Re: Non-Food Items at Farmers’ Markets
Premier Horgan, Minister Dix, Dr. Henry, Mr. Russell
The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce represents the communities of Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos and the surrounding areas. We are writing to you today to express our support of our small-town farmers’ markets as they are an important part of our economy and our rural communities. It is also one of the best and most direct ways to be able to support local independent businesses and to purchase local products.
Our chamber is requesting that non-food vendors be permitted at our farmers’ markets. This will help keep our markets going with additional vendor revenue, to increase traffic for the local food vendors and to support other Artisans and small producers of local goods so they can earn an income and in turn keep our local economy moving.
Organizers of farmers’ markets and the participating vendors have gone above and beyond the safety guidelines that have been outlined for them and if they are able to follow these protocols then there should not be a delineation on what is permitted to be sold at a market. Allowing consumers to access non-food items at retail outlets while barring it from our farmers’ markets negatively and disproportionately affects small local businesses.
We support the efforts of the Government of B.C. to assist small business owners during the
Covid-19 pandemic and there is no better example of small business entrepreneurial spirit than
those who produce food or non-food items for farmers’ markets. These businesses help make up the fabric of our communities and are vital to our local economies in our small towns.
Given that winter farmers’ markets are underway and planning for spring and summer markets has started, the Chamber encourages you to make a timely decision to permit non-food vendors at farmers’ markets. We hope you will consider a review of the order restricting non-food vendors from attending B.C. farmers’ markets and provide an exemption for such vendors.
Thank you for all that you are doing for our businesses and our communities. We look forward to your response.
Greg Sol, President
South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce
CC. Osoyoos Market on Main
BC Farmers’ Market Association
Mayor McKortoff and Council, Town of Osoyoos
Mayor Johansen and Council, Town of Oliver
RDOS Director Obirek, Area D Skaha East and Okanagan Falls