Vegetables at the Cottonwood Market. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

LETTER: Farmers seek market changes

From a group of farmers’ market vendors

We urgently request the reinstatement of non-food vendors to the market line up (both Saturday and Wednesday) and request that city council carefully reconsider the decision to move Wednesday market out of the downtown core.

To elaborate:

1. The market community fully supports all necessary sacrifices and adjustments required by the province to combat COVID-19. During Phase 1, we did so by implementing numerous changes of which, restricting type of product was one. But to be clear removing non-food vendors from the market is a great sacrifice to the overall success of the market. For all vendors, including farms.

Continuing to block non-food vendors beyond the requirements of the provincial health officer ban will have a powerful negative impact on all vendors. Like all commercial communities — ours thrives in the balance and diversity of our product line up. In times of crisis we might be called on to strip down to essentials but given the choice we would all always prefer the complementary abundance of a well balanced market.

2. The market community understands the city must carefully weigh how they respond to the many diverse and sometimes conflicting needs of all residents and businesses. As business owners ourselves we would not wish to negatively impact the livelihoods of other small business owners in the pursuit of our own success. We understand that satisfying the many stakeholders invested in the Wednesday market has always been a delicate negotiation.

The undersigned vendors (all farms) have many years experience vending at both markets, some of us for a decade or more. In our collective experience, Wednesday downtown markets consistently generate at least 50 per cent greater revenue for vendors. All vendors experience higher revenues but the contrast is especially significant for farms. Both markets deserve continued success as they are part of the social and economic fabric of Nelson. We respect the concerns of bricks and mortar businesses and hope to work together to find a mutually suitable location within the downtown so shoppers can make their way conveniently between our businesses.

Our great concern is that the Wednesday market as we know it will not survive outside of the downtown core.

Mira Grbich and Ross Petrie, Glade Organics

Ange Weir and Gord Spankie, Crooked Horn Farm

Alys Ford and Eric Struxness, Ravine Creek Farm

Scott Humphries and Emma Sowiak, Bent Plow Farm

Matt Carr, Linden Lane Farm

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