Big Rock Ranch and People Power have set up in the parking lot of Jackson’s Social Club and Brewhouse Friday, following the cancellation of the South Cariboo Farmers’ Market this week due to wildfires.
The two food producers will be there from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“As a food producer we’re an essential service,” said Robin Hunt, of Big Rock Ranch. “We believe highly in food security and want to ensure people are fed.”
Hunt said she came up with the idea last minute to hold the market at Jackson’s after the weekly market was cancelled due to wildfires in the area. In the past three weeks, the market has had to move from its location from the South Cariboo Rec Centre to make room for a fire centre. It had temporarily been held for food only vendors at the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre for the past two weeks.
Market manager Amanda Patterson said the decision to cancel the market was made Wednesday, July 14 following evacuation alerts for Horse Lake, Sheridan Lake and 100 Mile House. The Flat Lake fire is currently estimated to be 10,000 hectares in size and is moving towards Highway 97.
“The market has been closely monitoring the fire situation in our district. With the district going on alert we chose to cancel the market this week to avoid congestion on the roads and keep people from worrying about having their stuff ready for the market when they should be focusing on home matters,” Patterson said.
“We’re trying to cover all our bases and keep everyone safe but also fed,” Patterson said. “Safety over sales, that’s my concern right now.”
She said they will reassess next week. However, the situation has Hunt and David Laing, of the non-profit People Power Society, to call on the District of 100 Mile to help find a permanent location for the market. Hunt said she would like to return to someplace closer to the downtown core, as it would benefit the local businesses as well.
“The market needs a permanent spot and that’s what we’re hoping to find. We need a brick-and-mortar spot so we can be open year-round,” Hunt said. “It’s challenging being moved around a lot. We wish people would take us more seriously.”
Added Laing: “It’s in everyone’s interest to have a market in the community, people rely on us,” he said. “Having a space for it should be a priority.”