Farm markets are preparing for the 2020 season by adding online sales and other measures to prevent crowding. (B.C. Association of Farmers Markets)

Farm markets are preparing for the 2020 season by adding online sales and other measures to prevent crowding. (B.C. Association of Farmers Markets)

B.C. farmers markets restricted to food sales only due to COVID-19

Food producers, community gardens designated essential

B.C. farmers markets are an important way to deliver healthy food, but they have to stick to food vendors only during the coronavirus pandemic, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Henry announced her latest public health order March 27, limiting community markets and farmers markets to food sales only.

“This is recognition of how important it is for us to be able to access locally grown and produced food, and the farmers markets are an important part of that,” Henry said. “But we don’t want them to be areas where people are going to be going and mingling in large groups because of the risk right now that that entails.”

The COVID-19 public health emergency has already seen her order bars to close, most restaurants to go to pickup and delivery only, and gatherings outside of family groups to be limited with individuals kept apart. The provincial state of emergency powers announced this week designates food producers and community gardens as part of a list of essential services.

RELATED: Farmers markets moving to online platform in pandemic

RELATED: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies

To help with Henry’s orders regarding physical distance to prevent transmission of the virus, The B.C. Association of Farmers Markets is helping its 145 member markets move to online sales. The B.C. government has provided $55,000 to the association to cover member fees to join and set up their own online presence.

The funding comes from the province’s Buy BC program that promotes B.C.-grown vegetables, meat and seafood for sale in stores. As markets set up and offer online sales, their locations will be added to the association’s market tour website, bcfarmersmarkettrail.com.

“Our member farmers markets continue to modify their operations to ensure the health and safety of customers, vendors and market organizers alike,” said Heather O’Hara, the association’s executive director. “In further response to COVID-19, our new B.C. Farmers’ Markets Online platform will offer a new shopping channel for the peak farmers market season this summer.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy is the largest protected area in southeastern B.C. Photo: B.C. Parks
Province adds land to Valhalla and Purcell parks

Both additions enhance the parks’ ecological values, the province says

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Nelson is holding a municipal by-election to replace former councillor Brittny Anderson, who resigned in December. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson by-election nomination deadlines set

Candidacies must be registered between Feb. 9 and Feb. 19

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read