With all of the uncertainty surrounding in-person events during the pandemic, we are thrilled to have had a successful 2021 season for the Kimberley Farmers’ Market! Stringent COVID-19 restrictions were present at the start of the farmers’ market season, but we were eventually able to return to the kind of openness we’ve enjoyed in previous years. That we were able to run the farmers’ market, as well as see an increase in the number of visitors and vendors compared to 2020, is much cause for celebration.
The Kimberley Farmers’ Market takes place on Howard Street on Thursday evenings from late June to mid-September. It has long been a place for the community to gather and shop directly from local farmers, food producers, and artisans while enjoying live music and delicious food. The market began in 2014 and continues to provide our community with access to locally harvested and sustainable foods and products. It’s also known as a vibrant and nourishing community event that attracts residents and visitors alike.
The numbers are in and despite this year’s challenges, the Kimberley Farmers’ Market was a great success! According to Sustainability Coordinator Chad Kile, “market attendance was an improvement over 2020, ranging from around 500 to 1300 patrons with an average of 893 patrons per week.” This was slightly higher than the previous year’s average of 703 patrons per week. Kile also pointed out that the split between locals and visitors from out of town was fairly even, as is customary for the Kimberley Farmers’ Market. A survey conducted on August 19 found that 52% were locals and 48% were out-of-towners. Though the numbers fluctuated more from week to week than usual, we were still able to bring people together safely outdoors each week to shop locally from their favourite vendors.
We also saw an increase in participating vendors compared to 2020. ”A total of 58 vendors participated, with 20 vendors attending ten or more markets, 11 registered for half the market season, and 27 drop-in vendors,” reported Kile. He also noted that “numbers ranged from a high of 37 vendors on July 22nd and 29th to a low of 21 on July 1st, for a total of 444 vendor appearances and an overall average of 31.7 vendors per market.”
In addition to rising participation, BCAFM’s Hatch & Hype Program was also introduced on August 12th. This program offers a table to new food vendors (either growers or processors) eager to try out the market, and also promotes the new products and initiatives of returning food vendors. If you’re interested in becoming a vendor or rolling out new products, keep the Hype and Hatch program in mind next year!
“Many vendors commented that they loved the pace and atmosphere of the Kimberley Farmers’ Market,” Kile said at the end of the season. “Several even mentioned again this year that it was their favourite market to attend and that they enjoyed the relaxed environment.”
This would not have been possible without consistent presence and enthusiasm from vendors, volunteers, and visitors alike throughout the 2021 season. Thank you all and see you in 2022!
Find Kimberley Farmers’ Market and vendor information here.