The BCAFM is here to serve the needs of our member farmers’ markets. We are committed to developing and strengthening the capacity of farmers' markets in all regions of British Columbia, so you, our members can continue to support local farmers and artisans and provide British Columbians with fresh healthy local food. Learn more.
Policies and Positions
- Defining "Local"
- Labeling of Organics at Farmers' Markets
- Position on the Agricultural Land Reserve
- Transparency at BCAFM Markets
- Vendors with Storefronts
BCAFM Position Statements
The BC Association of Farmers' Markets represents farmers’ markets throughout the province of British Columbia. We support BC farmers. The Association continues to endorse its make, bake or grow policy and all farm products must be raised or grown within British Columbia. Each farmers’ market is self-regulating in their definition of local. The consumer should expect transparency and have confidence in knowing the origin of their purchase of primary farm products at each individual farmers’ market throughout British Columbia.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure consumers have confidence in the products they purchase at farmers’ markets. If vendors use the term organic, it should be accompanied by a certificate from an organic certifying body, be posted at the vendor’s booth, and a copy held by the farmers’ market manager. There is no governing body to certify claims such as “no spray” or “untreated", therefore words implying a product is organic or organically grown are not acceptable.
Each market is encouraged to develop, share and be transparent in their own set of policies and guidelines around the labeling, signage, and use of the terms organic, no-spray etc.
The BCAFM is often asked to comment on applications for changes to the BC Agricultural Land Reserve. In general, the BCAFM supports British Columbia agriculture, farmers and farmers’ markets, but does not comment on individual ALR applications.
Evaluating local agriculture is an ongoing process that requires detailed knowledge of each property, the surrounding area usage, soil types and other variables. The Association does not have the resources or the expertise to comment on or evaluate each application.
We encourage the ALC, all levels of government and other public groups to work hard to maintain our agricultural land base, since removal of land from agricultural usage is usually a non-reversible action.
The BCAFM defines local as within British Columbia. Individual markets may put in place policies regarding regional boundaries for accepting of vendors. Buying from wholesalers is not allowed. At least 80% of produce must be grown by farmer/s, unless this is a defined cooperative. Vendors can sell product purchased directly from another local producer, seeing as this does not exceed 20% of their sales volume. If vendors are selling a product they have not grown themselves signage should indicate the name and location of the farm, to ensure produce traceability. The BCAFM strongly recommends that individual markets put in place procedures to ensure complete product traceability.
BCAFM member farmers’ markets may consider allowing vendors who have one storefront location to sell at the market. Only vendors who make, bake or grow the products they sell should be considered. These vendors should not sell what is already being sold and therefore be potential competition with vendors with similar products who are already selling at the market. The BCAFM does not support internationally or nationally recognized franchises or chains selling at BCAFM member markets.
We strongly recommend that markets consider the impact of businesses with storefronts on other vendors within the market (who do not have a storefront.)
Individual markets should have a policy and protocol in place to manage existing vendors who plan to expand to one or a second storefront.
BCAFM member farmers’ markets have complete autonomy to disallow vendors with storefronts at their markets.
The issue of whether or not farmers’ markets should allow vendors with storefronts or retail outlets has become an increasingly important issue within the last several years. In navigating this issue farmers’ markets are often managing competing interests, especially:
Maintaining the right product mix in order to satisfy customer demand and maintain customer base. For example, the only available baker vendor in town has a storefront.
Maintaining the “integrity” of their market, i.e. staying true to their market’s mission, the definition of a farmers’ market and the small-scale, independent, and grass roots nature of farmers’ markets.
Not alienating vendors whose businesses have grown through their success at markets, to the point where they wish to expand to one or two storefronts. Vendors may wish to open a storefront location, but may still be financially dependent on income generated through their farmers’ market sales.
It is with these factors in mind that the BCAFM Board has put forward this policy, which member farmers’ markets may use as guidance when deciding how to handle vendors with storefronts.
The BCAFM will follow the process below in managing complaints. Please note the BCAFM is not in a position to resolve or mediate individual issues regarding member markets.
- Complaints must be in writing
- We will retain confidentiality of the complainant when possible
- We will direct both parties to follow and review the organization’s mission, policies, bylaws and constitution
- We will notify the market that there has been a complaint
- Please note we will not respond to inappropriate or abusive emails, phone calls or letters