Customers and vendors at Nelson’s Cottonwood Market, summer 2020. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Customers and vendors at Nelson’s Cottonwood Market, summer 2020. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Nelson farmers’ market ends summer with surplus

Low income customers spent $41,000 worth of coupons from a provincial program

At Nelson City Council’s Nov. 9 meeting, chief financial officer Colin McClure reported that this year’s farmer’s market finished with a surplus of $5,997.

The market was a controversial experiment this year on several levels because of the fast transition of its operation from the West Kootenay EcoSociety to the city, the moving of the Wednesday downtown market to Cottonwood Park, and new pandemic safety procedures.

McClure said the city had budgeted $51,578 for revenue from grants and vendor fees but only brought in $43,813 because of a grant that did not materialize. Vendor fees of $24,206 were about $3,000 higher than expected, however, and expenses were much lower.

The cost of labour and of various supplies and services came in well under budget and McClure said much of the labour expense was to install the hydro panel for the new market location, which was a one-time expense.

The budget document can be seen on the last page here.

McClure reported that Nelson market customers received $41,000 worth of coupons from the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, supported by the provincial government, the Provincial Health Services Association and the Columbia Basin Trust.

Kootenay Kids and the Nelson and District Seniors Coordinating Society distributed the coupons to low income families, pregnant women and seniors. Each family participating in the program was eligible for $21 per week in market coupons.

Councillor Jesse Woodward, formerly the manager of the markets for the EcoSociety, told council that when the coupon program started in 2013 it distributed $12,000 worth of coupons and the amount has increased every year since.

“They are getting great local food and supporting the farmers, so two things with one coupon,” Woodward said.


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