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 3
STORIES IN THIS EDITION
Province boosts ag spending
It’s a draw!
Editorial: Vice grip
Back Forty: Snow days make good days for seed selection
Viewpoint: Farmers need to prepare for annual snow melt
Smooth start to season as foreign workers arrive
Sidebar: Province mulls piece rates
Late winter has some Okanagan growers on edge
Ag show attracts near-record attendance
Ag Briefs: Traceability funding available for producers
Ag Briefs: Cattlemen’s launches webinar series
Ag Briefs: Grant winner announced
Labour remains a priority for fruit growers
Dairy, aquaculture take home awards at gala
Farmers need to prepare for uncertainty
Ag critic listens to concerns at farmers’ institute
Growers are responsible for workers’ safety
Robotic milkers sized up during dairy tour
Safe, high-quality silage depends on preparation
Diversification makes orchard a landmark
Ranchers need to match forage with herd needs
Producers question new Indigenous rights law
Hosting TRU students a way to give back
Livestock co-op provides selling, buying options
Sidebar: Market set to stay steady
Research: Bluetongue outbreaks expected to increase
Filling a niche for gourmet mushrooms
Regulations, housing key issues in Langley
Sheep producers seeing value in genetic program
Above and beyond
Vegetation fundamental to farms, landscape
Studies continue on forage, corn crop pests
4-H BC leader singled out
Growers go with the grain of beer revival
Agri-tourism has plenty of room for growth
Rose stem girdler poses threat to cranberries
Site prep critical for healthy hazelnut orchards
Sidebar: BC renewal program opens up
Wannabe: Renewal comes with a new generation of farmers
Woodshed: Deborah and Doug McLeod turn up the heat
A good place to meet up
Jude’s Kitchen: Celebrate spring by eating outside