2020 Workshops & Networking Events

Networking Events

Friday Night Reception

Connect with your fellow conference attendees and farmers’ market enthusiasts at a cozy local pub. Appetizers and your first drink is included with your All-Inclusive Conference Pass or Friday Welcome Reception Pass – register here.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (PST)
Where: Old Settler Pub (222 Cedar Ave, Harrison Hot Springs)

Banquet & Farmers’ Market Awards

Join us for a sumptuous feast of food and drink, our annual Farmers’ Market Awards, and silent auction. This event is included with your All-Inclusive Conference Pass or you can select to attend a la carte with the Saturday Night Banquet & Awards Pass – register here.

Date: Saturday, March 7, 2020
Time: 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm (PST)
Where: Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Friday Trainings

All trainings take place at Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Presented by: Keir Cordner, First Nations Health Authority and Kelcey Watts, Vancouver Coastal Health

MarketSafe training is for farmers, food processors and producers who make, bake or grow products to sell at local farmers’ markets, farm gates or other types of temporary food markets. It increases awareness and knowledge of food safety and safe food handling procedures for farmers’ market vendors, market managers, farm gate vendors, home kitchen small scale food processors, and others who may make, bake or produce food products for public consumption outside of food service establishments. MarketSafe is not equivalent to FOODSAFE Level 1.

* Please note, if you registered for an All-Inclusive or Conference Only pass, you can choose to attend MarketSafe training for free! You can also register for MarketSafe training on its own ($25). Limited to 50 participants. Registration on a first come, first serve basis. Upon successful completion of the course, individuals will receive their MarketSafe certification.

Date: Friday, March 6, 2020
Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Presented by: Evie Lavers, Rythym Club

Tailored to market managers, board members, vendors & small businesses that have an established social media presence, but perhaps could use a boost to continue to expand. The interactive lecture-style presentation will include:
● Profiling your Target Market
● Create easy, engaging and impressive content that WORKS
● Develop your brand narrative that connects with your community!
● How to build your brand kit/press kit (will include a short piece on press releases)
● Understand and optimize your Facebook Business Page
● Everything Instagram (Profile, hashtags, stories & ads)
● Social media & your mental health
* Please note, if you registered for an All-Inclusive or Conference Only pass, you can choose to attend the Social Media Day Camp for free! You can also register for this training on its own ($25). Limited to 40 participants. Registration on a first come, first serve basis.
**This workshop is now full. Waiting list available.



We have an amazing lineup of engaging and informative workshops. Select a workshop below to learn more about what’s in store.

All workshops take place at Harrison Hot Springs Resort.

*Schedule subject to change.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Presented by: Marcus Lobb and Monica Grover, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

This workshop will showcase the different ways that farmer’s markets are engaging the community and building effective and long standing relationships with community partners. Through their role as Regional Coordinators, Marcus and Monica will detail some of the examples of innovative relationship building they have discovered while visiting all the unique communities across BC. This workshop will be a combination of presentation and group discussion.

Attend this workshop if you are a market manager or a community organization looking to discover ways for the community to engage with your local farmers market in new and exciting ways!

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 10:15 am – 11:30 am
Presented by: Heather O’Hara and Tess Van Den Bosch, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

In this interactive workshop, Heather O’Hara and Tess Van Den Bosch from the BCAFM team will facilitate a discussion to explore how farmers’ markets can take their zero waste work even further and reach the next level in achieving even greater sustainability impact. Familiar with jumpstarting community waste reduction initiatives, Tess will share her firsthand experience spearheading a ‘GO GREEN’ campaign as a farmers’ market manager in Toronto. Then participants will be invited to share their own insights and experiences as Heather and Tess guide participants to ‘dig in and discover’ even more possibilities how our sector can build zero waste and sustainability initiatives into your farmers’ markets.

This workshop will be instrumental to guide the BCAFM team to identify sustainability priorities and advance this work for members and the sector. Together, we can unearth a zero waste and sustainable future for BC farmers’ markets!

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Presented by: Darcy Smith, Young Agrarians

In today’s landscape of sky-high land costs and market failure for agriculture, land access is the number one challenge for new farmers, while many older farmers are looking to the future, and what’s next for their farm. Don’t let the cost of land keep you from making your vision a reality. Join Young Agrarians to explore the spectrum of land access, from lease agreements to creative solutions for passing the farm on to someone outside the family. We’ll dive into considerations for different models, how to find the right fit for you, and get inspired with stories of farmers who are making it happen!

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm
Presented by: Darren Stott, Greenchain Consulting

Aggregation combines products from multiple food producers to be sold through a single channel to buyers. The purpose of this seminar is to share what factors make food aggregation initiatives successful, what it looks like in BC, some of the common challenges and experiences from BC so that you understand what it takes to put your initiative in the best position for success, from an early stage.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Presented by: Wylie Bystedt, McLeese Lake Farmers Market

What is Emergency Response and Recovery? What is the role of farmers markets in a community for response or recovery?

Emergency Response and Recovery has been changing in British Columbia over the past few years. This session will strive to share relevant lessons pertinent to farmers markets and vendors and how they can affect local response and recovery.

This session will focus on gaining a greater understanding of how response and recovery is viewed provincially and what the opportunities are for farmers markets and vendors within Emergency Response and Recovery.

There will be a brief review of the current BCAFM document “Navigating & Communicating During a Crisis” and how that fits into the much broader picture of Response and Recovery.

The session will utilize both Q&A and tabletop exercises.

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Presented by: Tanya Molle, Blackbird Pie Company

A successful business is made up of many parts but the relationship with your customers is one of the most important. In this workshop, you will learn why customer relationships are important, how to grow and maintain relationships and how interactions with customers can be enriching for both you and your customer. There will be an opportunity for interactive discussion in the workshop.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Presented by: Trudi Goels and Nadine Nakagawa, Ablaze Services

This workshop will explore why diversity and inclusion is important, how to identify who is missing, what barriers prevent them from participating and how your market can benefit from this strategic growth.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 9:45am – 10:45am
Presented by: Daphne Sidaway-Wolf, BC Ministry of Health; Keir Cordner, First Nations Health Authority and Sion Shyng, BC Centre for Disease Control

This session will provide an update on the food safety challenges and standards impacting the sale of some popular foods and beverages at farmers’ markets, such as kombucha, plant-based proteins, and fermented foods. This panel will also deepen understanding of the different standards and approval requirements as they apply to the various types of food services operating at temporary food markets, along with the roles of the different regulatory bodies and officers.

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 10:15 am – 11:30 am
Presented by: Kendall Ballantine, Central Park Farms

Farmer Kendall will teach step-by-step how Central Park Farms built their successful online store and go over how they manage and fulfill their orders.
We’ll be covering a bunch of great topics from basic to more advanced including:
  • Choosing the right e-commerce platform for you
  • How to add products
  • Fulfilling Orders
  • Utilizing an online store with farmers market pick up
  • Order deadlines
  • Mistakes we made along the way
  • And more!
You will get full insight into how we operate our online store and how it has grown our revenue exponentially. You will also be provided a digital copy of a workbook to help you put a plan into action to grow your farmers’ market business through an online store.

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 10:15 am – 11:30 am
Presented by: Sarbjit Gill and Claudia Stoehr, Archway Community Services

A presentation and conversation from members of the Legal Advocacy Program. The program, established in 2001 to address the hardships faced by farmworkers in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland. has a three-fold intent consisting of education, law reform and one-on-one assistance.You will hear about their work and discuss ways for farmers markets to connect with advocacy groups across the province to ensure farms at your markets are employing best practices with their employees.

Sarbjit is also a small scale farmer who will talk about his experience as a farmer, leading to a discussion of how farmers with few or no employees also need to focus on their own well being.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm
Presented by: Joshua Vanderheide, Rail District Community Market/The Valley Food + Farm Collective

This workshop will share some very real (and recent) learnings, experiences and challenges of what it takes to start a community food project. In 2016, we began the journey to create a local food movement in our community, we met with countless stakeholders from the farm and food community and realized there was a big disconnect in our local food systems. In Abbotsford we had the agriCULTURE, but not the food CULTURE, which is the translation from the farms to the plate or place that people could experience the amazing food we have in the Valley. So we set out to change this.

It’s been over two years and we are still trying to figure it out. Aligning with the theme of the conference, our experiences (hindsight) can lead to the learnings that can affect how we can better shape the future of local food. In this workshop we will:

  1. Share the story of The Valley Food + Farm Collective start-up, trials and tribulations
  2. Encourage attendees to share:
    a) What’s worked as being part of a Food/Farm Board Member or Founder and
    b) What has not worked and what was learned
  3. Share a summary of key takeaways/learnings – in order to see how these learnings can help give us the ‘foresight’ to better local food organizations, projects, markets and more.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Presented by: Dr. Kelleen Wiseman, University of British Columbia and Greg McLaren, Farm Food Drink

The millennial generation are an increasingly important market for BC farmers’ markets and their vendors. This generation of 25 to 36-year-olds are powerful, both in number and purchase power. And, they are unique – they shop differently, eat differently, purchase differently and pay differently than other generations. These unique purchase behaviours are strongly aligned with the type of products and vendors connected to the BC farmers’ markets making marketing to this group a clear opportunity for vendors. Rooted in consumer behaviour and grounded in practical business management, this workshop offers a unique and potentially profitable look at the opportunity of marketing to the Millennial generation.

PART 1: The first portion of this workshop will provide a profile of the Millennial Shopper – presenting their unique traits, purchasing views and decision-making process as it relates to produce and products we grow and produce in BC. Knowing the millennial generation and what makes them tick is only the first step to developing a millennial-friendly marketing plan. Continuing with a focus on real-world advice, a series of essential preparation and business research steps, useful as you develop your Millennial market plan, will be presented. Steps (discussed with examples) include “Finding Out Who Are the Millennials in your Region? And “What Are the Personality, Socially Conscious, And Environmentally Friendly Characteristics of Your Product and Business?”

PART 2: The second part of the workshop will provide a working case study, “Tools and Techniques for Marketing to Millennials”. Marketing tools/techniques under discussion will include presentation of the value-driven business and the development of an experiential environment for millennial customers, market stand – retail design, packaging options, sustainability triggers, co-creation of products, and encouraging social media action on behalf of your product/brands. The focus of this part of the workshop is to increase knowledge of vendor-based marketing tools and the potential for these tools to increase awareness, purchases and loyalty from the Millennials.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 4:15 pm – 5:30 pm
Presented by: Douglas Paillé, Vancity Savings Credit Union

You have a business idea that everyone says you should pursue. That’s encouraging, but how will you figure out if there’s a large enough market for your product or service to support you in your own business? Or, if you’ve already launched and the clients aren’t beating down your door, how can you find them?

In this workshop you will:

  • Learn how to determine who your customers are and how to reach them
  • Learn about the different benefits and drawbacks of a variety of market research tools
  • Identify the best market research approach for your own business

This workshop is for anyone who wants to find – or attract – new clients or customers.

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Presented by: Tahlia Murdoch, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

In this workshop, attendees will learn more about data and storytelling, why they are each important, and how to weave the two together to make compelling presentations. I will cover how to understand the language of who you are talking too, how to research things that have been successful in the past if you are asking for something, as well as how to use free tools and software to actually analyze and present data, make relevant comparisons, and tell your story.

I will include a segment where attendees can talk about the content, and any good or bad experiences they have had with it. Engagement will not be forced, but I want to encourage people to get out a pen and try and map out an idea they might have that fits in with this, and plan how their story might flow, who they are talking too, what information they know, and what information they need.

For a data driven story hypothetical, I will walk through a case for a zero waste market partnership, and how you could get the community buy-in you need, using data and anecdotes, to align with this key focus of the conference. This will also include some design tips.

Date: Sunday, March 8
Time: 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Presented by: Megan D’Arcy, Bulkley Valley Farmers’ Market Association

This workshop will share the results of the BVFMA 2019 Vendor Recruitment Project. The goals of the project will be discussed, along with looking forward and building on success. Megan will talk about the challenges and solutions of both vendor recruitment and retention, and invite you to engage in a brainstorming session considering this very topic. Finally, the workshop will conclude with insights on next steps.

Date: Saturday, March 7
Time: 11:00 am – 12:15 pm
Presented by: Alice Briggs, Vancouver Farmers Markets; Greg McLaren, Farm Food Drink and Tara Immell, Artisan Farmers’ Markets Society
Moderated by: Vickey Brown, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

The Canadian Government has announced that it will ban single-use plastics as early as 2021. A list of exact items to be banned has not yet been released, but the ban will include many “single-use or short-lived products and packaging” used at farmers’ markets. No wonder zero waste has become such a hot topic!

Moderated by BCAFM Board President, Vickey Brown, this engaging panel will discuss the various impacts and aspects of this, in particular as it relates to zero waste initiatives at farmers’ markets. Tara Immell from Artisan Farmers’ Markets Society will talk about what it means to have a zero-waste event, provide ideas for creative sampling alternatives, dispel myths including “compostable” plastic, and offer practical tips based upon the results of sustainability research conducted by twenty University of British Columbia students over seven months. Alice Briggs will share how Vancouver Farmers Markets (VFM) is phasing out single-use plastics at all of it’s markets this year, and the ways they are communicating the transition to vendors and shoppers. Finally, Greg McLaren with Farm Food Drink will discuss sustainable packaging and alternatives to single-use plastics, which packaging trends consumers are forecast to drive, green packaging initiatives and climate change strategies for farmers’ markets.

Conference Program Overview

Check out our exciting program comprised of trainings, workshops and networking opportunities.

See the full schedule