The Importance of Local Farmers’ Markets


A scene from the former Victoria Public Market, courtesy of City of Victoria Archives (# CVAM08758)

In recent decades, farmers markets have again assumed their historic role as important social and economic institutions in many of our communities. For many of us, farmers’ markets offer a glimmer of hope for a healthy future. The reasons for the re-emergence of farmers’ markets include nostalgia, increasing demand for fresh, local produce, distrust of supermarket power, concern over industrialized food production, desire to help local producers, and rural town regeneration. Farmers’ markets are now an integral part of the ‘real food’ revolution and, according to Farmers’ Markets Canada, they generated $3 billion in economic activity in 2008.

The Victoria Downtown Public Market Society is one answer to this challenge. With representatives from local food security organizations, food retailers, NGOs, and even Victoria City Council, the society was formed in August 2010 to raise awareness, support and funds towards the establishment of a permanent year-round marketplace in the downtown core of the City of Victoria. They believe that the return of a permanent public market is vital for a healthy local food system and community. Such a market will greatly improve our island’s food security by increasing accessibility to island grown products during every season and helping local farms remain vibrant and sustainable. Additionally, a downtown local food market will promote and support local businesses and bring neighbors together to commune and share resources, thus increasing local social capital and providing a hub of food-related community education, commerce and creativity.

The market will focus on local food producers at every level – farmers, fishers, butchers, bakers, cheese makers, preservers, brewers, vintners, florists and restaurants. It will be a meeting place where producers can share ideas with one another and their customers. A space for education as much as it is for business. A downtown public market will help small island businesses sustain themselves by increasing their customer base and building interconnection.

In order to achieve these very desirable (and tasty!) goals, the Downtown Public Market Society has been holding events such as Winter and Summer farmers markets in Market Square, and on September 11th they’ll be hosting the Eat Here Now 2011 Harvest Festival in Centennial Square featuring over 50 local farmers, food vendors and restaurants.

Create new relationships, enjoy food at its freshest and most flavorful, taste something new and get in tune with the seasons: check out the next farmers market on August 28th in Market Square from 11 – 3, and don’t miss Eat Here Now 2011 Harvest Festival on Sept. 11th in Centennial Square. Together, we can bring back a public food market to downtown Victoria!

For more information check out the website:, and tune into the Eat Here Now 2011 Facebook page for news and updates on participating vendors and local entertainers.

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