The South Cariboo Farmers’ Market. Submitted photos.

Farmers’ market needs more food vendors

‘We really don’t want to lose membership’

The South Cariboo Farmers Market (SCFM) is in need of more food vendors. In order to maintain their membership with the BC Association of Farmers Markets (BCAFM), they need at least 51 per cent of their vendors to be food vendors on any given day or they could lose their membership, along with the coupon program that supports low-income families in having fresh produce, meat and eggs from the market.

If they can’t find more food producers, they might have to talk to crafter vendors about reducing their numbers to maintain their membership and the coupon program, says Robin Hunt, president of the South Cariboo Farmer’s Market and the owner/operator of Big Rock Ranch.

“We really don’t want to lose membership with the BCAFM because it does A) support everyone in the coupon program and [B)] it also has a lot of support for our farmer’s market and other community members,” she says. “So, we’re really trying to put the word out that we’re searching for people that maybe have a backyard garden or are growing food, they’re a meat producer or they might bake pies or something like that might be interested in joining a market.”

Through the coupon program, recipients receive a set amount of coupons each week for 16 weeks to purchase fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, eggs, nuts and herbs at B.C. farmers’ markets. The program is restricted to pregnant families, low-income families, single-parent families and seniors, says Debbra Williams, administrative supervisor for the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre, who are working with the SCFM.

Last year they filled 28 spots and they always have a waitlist, says Williams.

“It’s a really, really good program. Last year they increased the amount of money so that over the four-month period of time each family got $360 worth of coupons towards their food budget.”

That money makes a huge difference to the families, says Williams, who gave some examples of the responses they’ve had over the years.

“I had a mother who came in to pick up her coupons and she was absolutely in tears because she had no food to give her little person that was in the daycare and it was farmers’ market day so she had gone to get fruit from the farmers’ market to take to her little guy in the daycare … each week if they’re getting $21 a week in coupons that’s a huge amount of money towards their food budget and it’s fresh.”

Williams is told every week when the families come in how much of a difference it makes, she says.

For seniors, it’s not just about the food but is also a social outing, she adds.

The vendors will really get to know the coupon clientele and add a bit extra or let the little kids have a free apple, pear or carrot, she says.

“I think the vendors that we have are amazing.”

Hunt says she understands that it can be tough for farmers to attend with everything else they have to do but notes that a co-operative is one way to deal with that.

They’re also looking at doing more special event days, such as having it on a Saturday once a month and are looking at bringing in more music acts. Their regular musician has moved away and they’re thinking of bringing some people in on a rotating basis through Momentum Productions but they’re also putting a call out to local musicians who might be interested.

“We’re also on the lookout for anyone interested in doing presentations at the market, for example, jam making, beekeeping, composting, kids activities, etc. We’re really hoping to grow the market this year and create an event, a place to be on Fridays.”

Typically on a Friday, they’ll have 23 to 30 vendors, says Hunt. Currently, they have around 30 vendors applied, whereas usually, they’ll have about 60 get their membership in by May 3.

People can donate to the coupon program as well in order to support a family in the community.

For more information, on the SCFM visit or email

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Just Posted

What does Family Day mean to you?

Jens Lundsbye 100 Mile House “It means spending the day together with… Continue reading

Preparing for climate change focus of upcoming workshop in Williams Lake

NStQ communities, licensees, local governments and interested people invited to share ideas

From the archives of the 100 Mile Free Press

40 YEARS AGO (1980): 108 Mile Ranch was to become the first… Continue reading

Sugary drink tax could use some work

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

RCMP release photos of a suspect following two break-and-enters at a 100 Mile business

The 100 Mile RCMP responded to a report of two break-and-enters that… Continue reading

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

‘A long way to go’: UNBC hosts Moose Hide Campaign gathering on Feb. 24

The event is a part of a movement to stand up against violence inflicted on women and children

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read