The North Island Farmers and Artisans Market in Port McNeill has been named Farmers Market of the Year by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.
The North Island Farmers’ Market Association (NIFMA) won for the “small” category for markets with up to 20 vendors for the 2017 season.
“Personally, I was honoured that our market was nominated,” said NIMFA’s Neva Perrott in an email to the Gazette, adding “What an amazing feeling to be recognized from the BCAFM as the small market of the year for 2017. We’re super excited and humbled that we won and really, the award belongs to each customer, vendor and market enthusiast here.”
Awards were selected by a panel of leading professionals in the sector, including Dr. David Connell, from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC), Jon Bell, farmer and former BCAFM president, and Elizabeth Quinn, former BCAFM executive director.
“NIFAMA is special because of it’s unique location and the passionate group who are striving to grow a vibrant community based around food and arts,” explained Perrott, adding, “I believe farmers markets are essential for healthy community living. They connect people to their food sources on a personal level and become like family supporting one another.”
A typical NIMFA market offers a variety of baked goods, ready to eat treats, handcrafted jewellery and arts pieces, bath and body care products preserves, in season produce, plants, handmade cards, and yarn.
“This year we’re hoping to increase the number of fresh food vendors by offering a co-op style vendor option,” said Perrott.
The market returns to the Port McNeill waterfront near the Harbour Office/Visitors centre on May 5 from 10:00 am – 2:00 p.m, as part of Port McNeill’s Rugged and Wild Race event and then on May 19 the market returns to the waterfront and will be every other Saturday until September.
“Our community works hard to support it,” said Perrott of the market, adding “It’s important to teach our children how to support and sustain their local food systems and economy.”
The BCAFM is a registered society that represents over 145 farmers’ markets across BC. Its mission is to develop, promote and strengthen the capacity of farmers’ markets in all regions of the province.