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Posted: March 4, 2021

Valley group earns BC Farmers’ Market Award

The Columbia Valley Community Economic Development team has earned a BC Farmers’ Market Award from the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM).

For over three weeks in February, farmers’ market organizers, growers, small-scale food processors, vendors, and community leaders came together virtually to connect and learn from interactive workshops and networking events.

The BCAFM celebrated the best of B.C. with its eighth annual BC Farmers’ Market Awards at its first ever virtual conference. Adding a new category of Farmers’ Market Champion to recognize an outstanding advocate for farmers’ markets, the awards ceremony celebrated individuals and organizations that made exceptional contributions to the B.C. farmers’ market sector in 2020.

The first-ever Farmers’ Market Champion was awarded to Columbia Valley Community Economic Development Team (Ryan Watmough).

“I grew up working in the tobacco, cucumber and ginseng fields of Norfolk County, Ontario. But it wasn’t until fall 2017, when I met Heather O’Hara at an Economic Development Practitioners’ Network event in Creston, where I realized that farmers markets are business incubators. They always have been and they always will be,” Watmough said.

“Some of the Columbia Valley’s largest and fastest growing businesses started making in kitchens, basements, garages and started selling at farmers markets. And we are working hard to support the current and next generation of vendors to meet their goals, while also supporting food security, the environment, social inclusion, workforce development and economic development in 2021 and beyond. We know that the BCAFM will continue to be a strong leader and dependable ​partner along the way,” he added.

“To highlight one market, or even one person, in this particular year was a daunting task for the judges. In truth, everyone deserves an award for the creative ways in which Farmers’ Markets in B.C. successfully navigated the myriad of requirements and restrictions that the 2020 season presented. From hand sanitizers and masks to crowd control and traffic flow, it was a season to remember. Congratulations to all of our market members, managers, vendors and volunteers for rising to the challenge. The judges have cast their votes, but you are all winners!” said awards judge, Jon Bell.

The Farmers’ Market Awards recipients were announced virtually at the 22nd annual BC Farmers’ Markets Conference, organized by the BCAFM.

A list of all of the winners are available on the BCAFM website and the awards video on Facebook.

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