Nelson’s farmers’ market is a wonderful and important market. However, I understand the concern stated by Baker Street businesses regarding the potential for decreased sales with a farmers market open in front of their shop. Couple this with small, family-owned businesses needing to earn their rent every hour they are open, and each day forward, to pull themselves out of the huge economic hit from COVID-19.
Here are a couple of solutions: How about we move the farmers’ market to a much bigger location? Imagine the market lining the water side of the parking lot down by the mall. Or perhaps, if the NDCC will not be fully reopening this summer, in the parking lot adjacent. Both locations offer ample social distancing opportunities. Our farmers’ market could continue to flourish.
This move would leave Baker Street open for business.
We could also, close off sections of Baker Street to vehicle traffic, and give the space created to restaurants and business to serve customers a meal and display their wares outdoors. Imagine a leisurely stroll down Baker, doing a bit of shopping and perhaps stopping at a local restaurant to visit with a friend and enjoy a meal.
Staying outside would keep us safer during the COVID-19 recovery and I suspect entice more people to shop locally. If the farmers’ market were to take place at the NDCC, patrons could easily visit their favourite farm stand a few blocks away.
Now more than ever, we need to support the local businesses that have been the backbone of Nelson, and, as well support the local farmers who have planted, cared for and are willing to provide local, healthy food for our community. This may not be the longterm solution, but it may be a way forward for this summer.