The farm season comes to an end with the shortening days, so we can look forward to time off from selling at farmers markets. Some of us, that is, but for many others the winter markets continue as well as the approaching Christmas markets. For the Board members of the BCAFM, it is the time for us turn our attention to some important activities and work for all the market members in BC. Our Executive Director, Elizabeth Quinn, and a Board member will once again come before the BC Provincial Select Standing Committee on Finance to encourage our BC politicians to support us. Our appearance at this committee in the previous two years has resulted in programs like the Nutrition Coupon Program being funded. Other activities will include attending the BC Minister of Agriculture's Advisory Committee meetings to set the directions for the funding of initiatives for farmers in BC. We as an association are very fortunate now to be included in these consultations that influence funding decisions which have a direct impact on BCAFM and farmers, both large and small scale.
I have been very pleased with the response to the Nutrition Coupon program at my own local market and also with the level of participation at the provincial level. At my local market, we have had a number of new customers who have been drawn to the market by the coupons. They unanimously agree that the program has been great for them, encouraging them to buy new food items, and at the same time making them feel welcome and comfortable about coming to a Farmers' Market.
This fall we will be working to prepare for next spring's AGM, as well as to complete a number of new initiatives. One of the most exciting initiatives, and one which should be extremely useful for our members, is a survey of prices. We all struggle with what to charge our customers for our products … just how much is your time worth? The association has been looking at prices in supermarkets versus farmers' markets, and the truth is out! Our prices are often the same or even lower than those in the big stores. How can we put a value on the personal service that we also provide? Now we need this survey data to reach potential new customers and encourage them to come to their local markets in the 2013 season.
All the best to you and your families, markets and vendors,