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Kwantlen farmers market open for business

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 3:35 PDT, Fri May 15, 2020

Last Updated: 3:28 PDT, Wed May 20, 2020

The Kwantlen St. Farmers Market opened this week, providing Richmondites with fresh local produce and other consumables.

Market manager Anne Janzen says the decision to run this year was a no-brainer.

“Knowing that we would have fresh food, and knowing that we have a chicken vendor, an egg vendor—there’s great local food that we have access to, so why wouldn’t we do a farmer’s market?” she says.

Organized by the Kwantlen Student Association and Farm Fresh Events, the market also works closely with the university’s agriculture program. It is open to customers Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. through Oct. 6 at the Brighouse Park lacrosse court (7000 Minoru Blvd).

Pandemic restrictions took effect right after the yearly BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) conference, when organizers and vendors were excited about the new season. Kwantlen’s growing season was already underway, so Janzen knew they had the means to start.

“One of the first things I did, within a week, is purchased two hand washing stations,” Janzen says. “People have to go to the grocery store—why not shop in an open air environment?”

Richmond city council was instrumental in making this year’s market happen. The usual location would have been challenging due to its many entrances—so the city suggested the lacrosse court across the road, which has only one entrance and exit.

Customers must also adhere to some strict rules: there is no food sampling or consuming food in the market area, and physical distancing is mandated. As well, vendors are only allowed to sell consumable products, as required by provincial restrictions.

Each vendor can decide if they will accept cash—but most have the technology to accept contactless payments.

The opening day Tuesday was a success, with signage reminding people to wash their hands and remain two metres from others. The BCAFM has communicated these requirements effectively to member markets, says Janzen.

“The energy is really positive,” she adds. “The vendors were really happy with the turnout, the customers were really grateful. They’re really excited about the season this year.”

The social media feedback has been positive—more than any other year. Markets across BC are getting similar support, says Janzen.

The Kwantlen St. market is still accepting new vendors. For more information, visit kwantlenstmarket.ca.

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