March 13, 2019
by PETER MITHAM
Defining “local” food is a big issue for farmers’ markets in eastern BC, which raised their concerns at the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets annual conference in Kimberley March 8-10.
The association has lost at least one market over the issue, and Dawn Deydey, cofounder of the Mountain Market in Fernie, doesn’t want to see others leave.
“I’m concerned that we will lose more members,” she told members during the association’s annual general meeting.
The association plans to launch a campaign this summer to position farmers markets as “the source for local food.” However, Alberta producers are often closer to markets in Fernie than some BC vendors.
BCAFM vice-president Vickey Brown was sympathetic to the concerns, but the association’s bylaws don’t allow out-of-province vendors. Other association members mused whether provincial funding through programs such as Buy BC could be jeopardized if Alberta produce was sold at BC markets.
Jon Bell, a past president of the association, noted that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency defines “local” as having been produced within 50 kilometres of the place of sale.
However, the CFIA is reviewing its definition and in January introduced an interim policy that defines as local as a product produced within the province or territory where it’s sold, or in the case of out-of-province products, within 50 km of the place of sale.
BCAFM executive director Heather O’Hara said she is open to developing a process for managing exceptions, especially if the issue concerned just a few markets.
“That materiality matters in this conversation,” she said.
Transparency is also important, so consumers aren’t misled. CFIA encourages producers to clearly state a product’s place of origin on the label, noting that “local” is a voluntary claim.
Vol. 105 Issue 5
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
What on earth?
Opposition slams ALC bill
Sidebar: Protection & pushback
Editorial: Truth in labelling
Back Forty: So you don’t believe in climate change
Viewpoint: Don’t blame the cows for global warming
Ag council’s lobbying efforts produce results
Learning a new skill
Foundation’s nest egg for funding projects increases
Province will hold the line on piece rates
New CEO aims to kindle team spirit at co-op
FIRB decision prompts rethink of pricing scheme
Beekeepers see potential in technology transfer
AgSafe markes quarter century
Raspberries hit hard by harsh February
Blueberry growers anxious for new varieties
Biological controls for pests in demand
Sidebar: Pesticides in play
Growers urged to focus on fresh
Westgen celebrates 75 years of excellence
Top seller was no-show at Holstein sale
Spring show attracts exhibitors from Quebec
Cheesemakers unite to grow niche market
Range use permits under greater scrutiny
Sidebar: Range use plans go digital
Market Musings: Top bulls sell for top dollar at spring sales
Grapegrowers share sustainability objectives
Grape specialist honoured for dedication
Hazelnut production expands across BC
Sidebar: Pest pressures
Supporters take to AITC’s Sips & Sprouts
Research: Cultured meat fails to impress researchers
UAVs undergo testing for pesticide delivery
Sustainability goes beyond saving farmland
Father and daughter roll with the last of the steel wheels
Woodshed: Susan Henderson is warming to country life
Wannabe: Farming is more than just a job
Surplus, cull fruit finds new purpose as tasty snacks
Jude’s Kitchen: Special food for special moms