BC Association of Farmers' markets

The demand for locally produced, fresh and nutritious food has grown rapidly over the past ten years, and so too has the number of farmers' markets. Today, farmers' markets operate in every type of community across BC, from cities to suburbs to rural communities.

  For Markets  


2017 Conference Workshop Descriptions

2017 Conference Workshop Descriptions


Networking Events

Workshop List

* The list is subject to change. Please check back regularly for workshop additions and updates.

Networking Events

Free! Roundtable Sessions for Vendors & Market Managers

Do you have questions you'd like to discuss with other vendors, farmers, or market managers? This is your chance! Bring your questions and queries to the concurrent Market Manager and Vendor Round Table sessions. These sessions are FREE, but please register to let us know you're coming!

Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 2pm - 5pm
Where: Inn at the Quay, Hyack Room (900 Quayside Dr. New Westminster)
Refreshments: Coffee and team will be provided
Sign up for free!

Walking Tour of New Westminster

Join Tej Kainth from Tourism New West for an interactive walking tour through Downtown New West and the Riverfront. Explore the new Anvil Centre including a guided tour of the New Media Gallery and New West Museum. Stroll down historic Columbia Street towards the Westminster Pier Park. Tej will stop at various point of interest for Q&A. Hope to see you there!

Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 5pm - 6:30pm
Where: Meet at the Inn at the Quay (900 Quayside Dr. New Westminster)
Bring: Umbrella, warm jacket, and a comfortable pair of walking shoes


Welcome Reception

Come connect with other BCAFM members! The reception includes scrumptious appetizers, a voucher for a local beverage, and cash bar.

Date: Friday, March 3, 2017
Time: 7pm - 9pm
Where: River Market (810 Quayside Dr. New Westminster)

FOODSAFE/MarketSafe Breakfast

Join us bright and early on Saturday morning for a delicious breakfast at the Boathouse Restaurant, sponsored by our partners at FOODSAFE / MarketSafe.

This will be a unique opportunity for conference goers to connect directly with Environmental Health Officer (EHO) and food safety experts over coffee and breakfast. Breakfast is open to all conference attendees - we look forward to seeing you there!

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 7am - 8:20am (before Conference Welcome Remarks)
Where: Boathouse Restaurant
(connected to the Inn at the Quay, 900 Quayside Dr.
New Westminster)


Banquet & Farmers' Market Awards

Join us for a sumptuous feast of food and drink. This evening will feature our third annual Farmers' Market Awards.

We're excited to announce that Margaret Gallagher, CBC Radio One's "Hot Air" will be our host for the evening!

Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Time: 7pm - 10pm
Where: La Perla Ballroom (#230-810 Quayside Dr. New Westminster)

Workshop Descriptions

A Small Acreage Farmer’s Insight Into How to Make It Farming in Metro Vancouver

Ken Knechtel, Red Barn Plants and Produce
With over 25 years of farming experience on three acres, Ken has seen it all and seen many “farmers” come and go. This workshop will discuss some real “dirt” about small farming, and give some new ideas and fresh views on how you can make it in this competitive world of small acreage farming. Topics are varied (tools for small farmers, government grants, water wise, where money and energy is best invested on a small farm), however the theme of knowledge passing is consistent.

Accessible Markets - Conduct, Audit and Engage Volunteers!

Hayley Sinclair, Community Volunteer Connections; Elaine Phillips, accessibility advocate; Tori Phillips, advocate for the trans community
Volunteers want to be engaged and have meaningful duties and accessibility is a great Call-To-Action! Get your volunteers on board with site audits, signage assessments, gender-neutral bathrooms, and advocacy. This workshop will provide you with practical and free things your market can do to increase the accessibility of the site while enhancing the market experience. Farmers' Markets are for everyone!

Advocating and Lobbying in Canada: How to best yet your message to those in government

Trevor Hargreaves, BC Dairy Association; Jaclyn Laic, former Communications Manager, BC Agriculture Council
This hands-on workshop will feature three parts. The first part will include a detailed presentation with examples on organizational best-practices in terms of process, approach and do's and don'ts when organizing lobby and advocacy messaging for government. This will also include current Canadian agricultural examples around the approach used, and examples that ended in success, and some splendid failures. The second part of this workshop will feature group-work around simulated lobby issues with the groups deciding upon approach tactics and basic messaging. The workshop will conclude with a review of the group-work with feedback.

Blogging and Social Media Best Practices

Bernie Glemas, VARiZE Marketing Inc.
Bernie will present a high-level overview of blogging and social media best practices and strategies. With a focus on hub and spoke content marketing principals, attendees will gain a high-level understanding of how to plan and deliver content to their community in an effective, meaningful and efficient manner. Participants will walk way from the session with a hard-copy content marketing plan they have completed.

Business Management Practices of Highly Successful Farmers' Market Farmers: Lessons Learned from 15 Case Studies

Emily Hansen, KPU - Institute for Sustainable Food Systems

In BC, there are limited resources to help direct market farmers develop business and marketing skills. In order to build successful strategies for business it is extremely valuable for farmers to share their business management knowledge and practices with one another. This workshop will highlight the best practices for business development, marketing and operations gleaned from 15 very successful small scale, direct to market farmers from across BC. These producers demonstrate effective and often unique approaches to farm business management, offering ideas, guidance and inspiration to their farming peers.

In this workshop we will introduce the project and summarize findings from in depth interviews with farmers highlighting best practices around central business development and marketing themes, including: financial management, diversification and value adding, work/life balance, communications, goal setting, strategic investments, record keeping, marketing and networking.

The research presented in this workshop was conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems in partnership with the BC Association of Farmers' Markets and funded by the Investment Agriculture Foundation. A full report of research findings will be published summer 2017.

Connecting Your Market to the Growing Ethnic Community

Roberta LaQuaglia, Vancouver Farmers Market; Kevin Huang, Hua Foundation; Eric Koo, Farmer Koo

In 2016, the Vancouver Farmers Markets (VFM) launched their Local Food Global Flavours (LFGF) project with the goals of attracting more Asian shoppers and increasing sales of locally grown Asian vegetables at their markets. The Hua Foundation was a partner on the project and provided valuable insight into the Asian community's values, preferences and market traditions/norms. Kevin will provide that expertise in this workshop and offer his suggestions for markets and vendors to better appeal and serve the Asian consumer. Eric Koo is a VFM vendor and a participant in the LFGF program. Eric speaks Cantonese and grows Asian vegetables among other crops. He will share his experience with the LFGF program, and as a vendor who has developed a following for his Asian vegetables.

Food Safety at Markets

Sion Shyng, BC Centre for Disease Control

Workshop description coming soon!

Get the Market You Measure

Richard McCarthy, Slow Food USA
Richard will walk you through some of the basic tools to align your market’s mission, management, marketing and measurement. In truth, we get the markets we measure. He will review tools he helped to design at Market Umbrella: SEED to measure financial capital, NEED to measure social capital, FEED to measure human capital, the Market Portrait, 4Cast, Rapid Market Assessment, and others.

Grow Your Food Production Business With Silver Chef's Flexible Funding

Melissa Maltais, Silver Chef Canada
Looking for ways to expand your farm, food truck or small scale food production business? Silver Chef can help. With over 30 years' experience and industry knowledge, Silver Chef is Canada's only dedicated hospitality equipment funding partner. We help Canadian business owners achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.

With Silver Chef’s flexible Rent – Try – Buy equipment funding program, you can get the equipment you need today and keep cash in your pocket. While your equipment helps you generate revenue, you can put hard-earned dollars to better use, such as growing your business and having enough cash on hand for whatever comes your way. From mobile hand washing stations to large walk in coolers learn how Silver Chef can help you build a hospitality business that thrives!

How to Improve Your Market Display and Booth

This workshop will help vendors improve their display and booth at farmers' markets. Attendees will learn how they can benefit from proper signage, height of table, amount of products shown, and how a good display make a big difference in sales. The presentation will take into consideration the challenges of working outdoors as well as the constant weather changes.

Managing Your Market's Risks & Opportunities

Bob Prenovost, Propellor Social Enterprise Advisors

Is your farmers' market interested in learning how to proactively manage risks and maximize opportunities? In this fast paced, interactive, hands on workshop, you will discover a practical approach for managing risks and opportunities for your market, and how to develop a simple, yet highly effective risk management plan. Society and association managers and board members are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities with respect to managing risk. Participants will take away some tools and learning that they can apply immediately to benefit their organization.

Market Day Food Education: Providing Learning Opportunities for Market Customers

Tara Immell, Artisan Farmers' Markets; Carolyn Morris, former Market Manager, Squamish Farmers' Market
People go to farmers' markets and speak directly with vendors to understand more about local food, and products. Market managers can also promote food education that can get children eagerly asking, "What vegetable game can I play today?" Orchestrating a teaching moment at a market can be as simple as drawing an arrow towards an unfamiliar vegetable and writing "What is this?", or as complex as going through the full health inspector approval for hot food demos/samples, or somewhere in between. By organizing events connected to seasonal availability, you can develop repeatable events that add variety to your customers' experience, and expand their knowledge of local food, especially for the children.

To illustrate teaching moments, everyone will answer hands-on food skill questions from the Abbotsford Farm & Country Market, including: How do I roll the rice paper in a BC Blueberry Association recipe? If my egg floats does that mean its fresh or not? Which of these vegetables is not a tomato? Did this food travel 1km or 9,000kms to get here?

Attendees will learn:
- The health department approval middle ground between demos with samples and demos without samples
- Examples of games that keep kids and parents engaged
- How to coordinate special vendor events and teaching moments
- Tips for reusing material year after year

The New BC Societies Act: What Every Society Needs to Know

Michael Blatchford, Norton Rose Fullbright Canada

The majority of non-profit organizations, including farmers' markets, are governed by the Societies Act, which came into force November 28, 2016. This session will highlight the major changes under the new legislation affecting directors, members, meetings and more, as well as summarize the process by which each society must "transition" to the new Act in the next 18 months.

Opportunities and Challenges of Physical Infrastructure to Expand Your Market and Broaden its Appeal

Darren Stott, Greenchain Consulting; Del Myers, Prince George Farmers' Market Association

Farmers' markets and their vendors in BC have seen some impressive growth over recent years and in some cases there are pressures for these markets to expand and build on this success. Such initiatives include indoor facilities, farmers' stores, warehousing for distribution and even commercial kitchens for vendors to use. These are exciting opportunities and broaden the appeal of markets to different types of customers as well as provide additional revenue opportunities for market vendors. In most cases these opportunities need an investment in physical infrastructure, so it isn't an easy step to take. With physical infrastructure comes extra costs, additional paid labour and a long term commitment. However, this investment can have significant benefits to communities and the long term survival of farmers' markets and their vendors.

This workshop takes attendees through these opportunities and provides case studies of successful examples and how they can be applied to markets in BC. The workshop will also go over some of the projects currently in process in BC and advice on how to get projects started in other communities and how to keep the momentum going. Attendees will also break out in to groups to do an exercise with their peers to help them decide whether their market or community is ready to look at investing in physical infrastructure.

Reimagining Your Market: Balancing means, ends, measurement and mission

Richard McCarthy, Slow Food USA
Richard McCarthy is the Executive Director of Slow Food USA and is based in Brooklyn, NY. Co-founder and past-president of the Farmers Market Coalition (the voice for farmers markets in the USA), founder of the New Orleans-based Market Umbrella (public market operator and practitioner’s think tank), Richard has worked with farmers' markets on every continent to develop management best practices, innovative measurement techniques, and spearheaded public health programs that have since become codified in federal programs in the USA. He will share insights as how to harness your farmers' market’s ancient promise to grow healthy economies, communities and eaters.

Silver Chef Workshop

Silver Chef
Workshop description coming soon!

Understanding the Principles of Traceability

Nancy Ross, Ross Food Consulting Inc.

The goal of the workshop will be to support farmers' market vendors (producers and small scale food processors) and managers in understanding the principles of traceability - why these are important and how they can put these principles into practice at farmers' markets across the province. Workshop goers will gain practical information that will allow food producers and processors to track food through the supply chain - from the farm, to the commercial kitchen to the farmers' market and beyond. 

Best practices, enabling small food-based businesses to demonstrate the traceability of their products, including lot coding, sourcing, and appropriate labeling, will be shared with workshop attendees. Attendees will also be provided with a hand-out to support them in putting their newly gained knowledge to practice once they leave the conference. Information about maintaining product traceability when using marketing channels outside the farmers' market will also be touched on, to provide those growing food-based businesses with the information they need to move their products into additional channels, such as grocery store.

Visual Social Media: Creating Compelling Content

Erick Thompson and Erin Trainer, ET2media; Penticton Farmers' Market

Learn how to create professional social media content that engages and informs your audience. During this hands-on workshop, you'll be invited to snap pics and record videos. You'll get valuable feedback on framing, lighting, and audio. Erick and Erin will also provide tips on social media sharing and show you how to use your smart phone to record quality video including interviews and on camera presentations. You'll also see examples of social media content created for the Penticton Farmers' Market.