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Farmers Markets
June 17, 2009
Farmers Market Plan for New City Market
Image: Vancouver’s New City Market. Architectural concept drawings and design program by Citylab, 2009

(Directly from the press release.)

At an annual policy briefing that drew over 60 Vancouver City and Parks Board commissioners, managers, urban planners and media, the Vancouver Farmers Markets announced record-breaking revenues for local producers in 2008, bringing the overall impact on the local economy to nearly $10 million last year.

“While other sectors are witnessing a down-turn, public demand for locally-produced food is skyrocketing. Farmers Markets in Vancouver have grown at a rate of 30% per year. The total economic impact including spin-off to local businesses and suppliers, was nearly $10 million in 2008, and will be even greater in 2009.

That translates to 3,500 acres of BC land in production for food for Vancouver”, says Tara McDonald, Executive Director of the Vancouver Farmers Markets. Yet, while enjoyed by 250,000 people year-round, the city’s farmers markets and their 185 farm, prepared food and artisan vendors lack long-term security and space. “The Trout Lake farmers market has been over-capacity for years, and now faces a move during the reconstruction of the community centre starting in early 2010. Where will this farmers market go?”, asks McDonald.

One suggestion is a school ground near Commercial Drive. “Similarly”, Mc Donald says, “the Vancouver Winter Farmers Market at the WISE Hall is beyond capacity with vendor waiting lists and overcrowding. This market needs an indoor-outdoor 10,000 sq. ft. space to meet Vancouver’s demand for local food in the winter time”.

While talks are planned with the Vancouver School Board to re-locate the Trout Lake farmers market, McDonald says discussions are underway with the city to locate a building or site to permanently house a year-round, indoor-outdoor farmers market: “We’re looking in the Main and Terminal area, where we currently operate a Wednesday farmers market, and where the city’s first farmers market-wholesale-cafe building opened in 1908. The City of Vancouver owns a number of warehouse-style buildings in this area. Our goal is to re-purpose a building, or series of buildings to create the infrastructure to scale-up our local food industry and serve the public and our food producers for generations to come.”

Leveraging its role as a new, local economic driver, the Vancouver Farmers Markets, in partnership with the Local Food First consortium, last week launched a Capital Campaign to locate and build a multi-purpose “New City Market”. The Vancouver Farmers Markets unveiled architectural concept drawings and the operating program for the 30,000 sq. ft. New City Market, which will house a year-round indoor-outdoor farmers market, local food cold/frozen storage warehouse, commercial processing facility, business incubation, local food system research and development and education centre. Pushing for LEED-Platinum certification, this state-of-the art building and site will include storm water management through permeable surfacing, rain-gardens, infiltration wells and green rooftops and will generate its own energy, using solar, wind and geothermal sources.

McDonald says “The cost estimate is about $8 million. Our goal is to identify and start securing a site by the end of this year. With farmers markets alone making a $10 million impact on the local economy, a local food hub featuring multiple direct-marketing operations serving local producers will triple that impact.” McDonald says that support to build the New City Market will be sought from federal and provincial infrastructure allocations, the city of Vancouver, local investment credit unions and funders, and the creation of public investment shares.
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Copyright Cityfood Magazine 2009