Food for thought: marketing B.C.’s farmers’ markets

BC Association of Farmers' Markets

Photo: A screenshot of the BC Farmers' Market Trail's website
Screenshot from BC Farmers' Market Trail

BC Association of Farmers' Markets receives $20,000 marketing grant

Successfully celebrating and marketing the delightful food produced, grown, made and sold at farmers’ markets around the province is a challenging task.

Enter the BC Farmers’ Market Trail – a marketing initiative of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) that showcases 145+ farmers’ markets across the province.

Thanks in part to a colourful website and informative brochures, the BC Farmers’ Market Trail has built a solid reputation. Northern Development, along with Destination BC and MRDT Tourism Marketing Committee – Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region provided funding for the creation of the Trail.

“On the Trail, each B.C. farmers’ market is beautifully profiled to showcase the uniqueness of every community and diversity of every region,” said Heather O’Hara, BCAFM executive director in a press release. “B.C. farmers’ markets feature the best that the province has to offer from local farmers and entrepreneurs, making local food and artisan goods more accessible to shoppers, and providing an economic boost to each and every community.”

Photo: Screenshot of the description for Houston Farmers' Market

Expanded in the summer of 2019, BC Farmers’ Market Trail champions the unique farmers’ market experiences that exist throughout B.C. The marketing initiative, comprised of an attractive and user-friendly website, brochures and social media, celebrates the B.C. farmers, their farms, beverages (including craft beer, spirits and wine) and value-add prepared foods that are found at farmers’ markets around the province.

“The BC Farmers’ Market Trail is an excellent resource that both visitors and locals can use to find local produce and artisan goods,” said Lisa Beare, Minster of Tourism, Arts and Culture in a press release. “Sharing local and seasonal specialties is a great way to showcase all that British Columbia offers and supports the work of makers and growers. Exploring our province through farmers’ markets and healthy, fresh food is a great way to travel.”

BCAFM has three key objectives that they are striving to reach through collaboration and the implementation of marketing activities.

  • Increase direct sales revenue generated at farmers’ markets and grow tourism revenue in respective communities through increased overnight stays,
  • Increase the number of local and non-local shoppers at farmers’ markets,
  • Elevate the brand equity of BC Farmers’ Markets, along with the thousands of small-scale farmers who sell at farmers’ markets, to local, regional, provincial and surrounding areas to positively impact provincial tourism.

“The BC Farmers’ Market Trail is a great example of marketing collaboration and alignment across the province, connecting travelers with ways to eat and shop locally for farm fresh foods,” said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC. “This trail unites the collective power of tourism champions in towns, cities and regions with a common purpose – the result being a great trip-planning tool for visitors and residents that enables them to enjoy healthy food choices on the way to their destination.”

Supporting BC Farmers’ Market Trail through the Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program aligns strongly with four of the 10 areas that Northern Development supports investment in: tourism, small business, economic development and agriculture. The Marketing Initiatives program provides up to 50 per cent of an eligible project’s budget, up to $20,000, to projects that promote or position a community or region to take advantage of opportunities that support economic vitality and diversification.

Photo: Screenshot of the description for the farmers' markets in Northern B.C.