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Chamber supports B.C. farmers markets

VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is urging the provincial governments to permit non-food items to be sold at farmers’ markets.

In a letter to Premier John Horgan, Health Minister Adrian Dix, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Harwinder Sandhu, Vernon-Monashee MLA, the Chamber requests a review of the order restricting non-food vendors from attending B.C. farmers’ markets.

Artisans and local producers rely on community farmers’ markets to offer goods, often without the ability to sell their products elsewhere. The market itself depends on the extra revenue from non-food vendors to operate. Without this, farmers’ markets and local food vendors, which are essential services, are at risk of shutting down as well,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.
“Organizers of farmers’ markets have demonstrated their willingness and ability to ensure the safety of consumers and vendors. Provided protective health measures and directions are complied with, 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 the market negatively and disproportionately affects small local businesses.”
Non-food vendors have not been permitted at farmers’ markets since Dec. 3, 2020 but they were a fundamental part of market operations throughout the summer and fall of 2020.
“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. They are our friends, neighbours and family, and critical to local economies, particularly in the Interior,” said Kempton.
“Given that winter farmers’ markets are underway and planning for spring and summer markets has started, the Chamber encourages the government to make an immediate decision to permit non-food vendors at farmers’ markets.”
Richard Rolke, Communications Coordinator   
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
P: 250-545-0771              E: