August 28, 2013 - 10:40 AM
KELOWNA - If making a stop at our local farmers market is not part of your Saturday routine, expect to see a lot more advertising to sway your ways.
The B.C. ministry of agriculture is matching the $85,000 raised by the B.C. Association of Farmers Markets to kickstart a promotional campaign known as the Buy Local program.
It gives farmers across B.C.the training and resources necessary to promote their products using social media and advertising.
Minister of Agriculture Pat Pimm paid a visit to the Kelowna Farmers' and Crafters' Market this morning, at the corner of Springfield Road and Dilworth Drive. Pimm got a taste of some of the city's homegrown products while mingling with vendors.
"One of the things I hear on a regular basis is 'we want to buy local'. We don't know quite how to get there," Pimm says. He suggested It's time for the markets to modernize, allowing customers to pay for their fruits and vegetables by card or with access to ATM machines.
Primm says with the Buy Local program that matches producers' promotional expenses up to $100,000 "we can start building websites, we can start advertising".
B.C Association of Farmers Markets executive director Elizabeth Quinn says as a non-profit organization it's easy to raise such a large amount of money. Through public surveys Quinn says they discovered that while many people have visited their local markets, it's typically no more than three visits per year.
And while many people are aware that buying locally is a good thing, they still need to be convinced why, Quinn says.
Their Buy Local campaign will launch in the summer of 2014, targetting both new and regular market shoppers.
Pimm says this is one step closer to helping B.C.'s agrifoods become a $14 billion-a-year industry come 2017.
Vendor Robert Hogue of Rosaries Orchard says he's a bit behind on social media.
"We haven't done much of that yet," he says, but believes it will help bring more customers to his fruit stand.
Since their first opening in 1995 with just four vendors, market manager Bob Callioux says its becoming more popular every year. Last week the Wednesday and Saturday markets combined pulled in a record of 20,000 shoppers.
The market runs every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013