I’m writing to provide some additional context about the Wednesday Farmers’ Market in Nelson, as a local organic farmer. As readers may know, the City of Nelson changed the location of the market from downtown to Cottonwood Falls Park, in the middle of the workday, and are allowing only food vendors. After five years of vending at the Wednesday market, we made the difficult decision not to participate this year because we felt the market would not draw the customer base required to make it worthwhile.
This pandemic is affecting everyone and it’s not to be taken lightly. The BC Farmers’ Market Association has developed protocols, under the guidance of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. On May 28, Dr. Henry announced that markets may sell food and non-food items. The city chose not to follow these protocols.
I would like to reiterate how important the market is for the community — it’s excellent for small business incubation, local food security, and culture and commerce. But most importantly, it is the sole source of income for some of the vendors, and that source of income has been cut off because of the city’s decision.
We are in the third week of July and are halfway through our working season. I am deeply concerned that some vendors are halfway through their sales season and have not had the opportunity to make a proper living due to the restrictions the city has implemented on the market.
I hope to see a change in the location of the Nelson Wednesday Farmers’ Market back to downtown. I want to see all vendors allowed to sell at the market in accordance with Dr. Henry’s protocols. I hope to have a vibrant Nelson Wednesday market again.