October 24, 2015 - 1:05 PM
KAMLOOPS – The president of Visions Farmers’ Market Society has no problem expressing how he feels about his competitors hiring a consultant to look into a year-round market.
“It's a total waste of time and money,” Andy Ballogh says. His market runs over the winter at the Sahali Mall, from Oct. 31 to April 16, and is in its fourth year of operations.
Community Futures Thompson Country recently hired Greenchoice Consultants, at a cost of $50,000, to look into the feasibility of a 12 month market. The organization is helping facilitate a 16 member advisory committee, which includes the Kamloops Farmers’ Market, Farm 2 Chef and a collection of Kamloops wineries.
Ballogh believes there is a bit of bad blood between his market and the Kamloops Farmers’ Market.
“They’re not happy that we could put together a fantastic situation with the Sahali Mall,” he says. “Why not join us and get a joint venture type of thing going?”
Shirley Culver of Community Futures says a feasibility study into a year-round farmers’ market has been an idea almost 10 years in the making.
“It might be ahead of its time; we’re very aware of that,” she says, adding the point of the study is to determine not only if Kamloops is ready, but to figure out what could be done to make it a reality.
Culver says the consultants will first meet with local stakeholders Nov. 19 and 20, returning again in January 2016 before the final report and subsequent open house happens the following March.
“The first stage is doing best practice research,” consultant Darren Stott says. Stott and his team have identified a year round market in Edmonton that could serve as an example to Kamloops. He says in the off-season there often isn't produce, but they sell meat, cheese and processed food.
Stott says some of the things they will look at are financial sustainability, including community support and buy-in, plus the viability of local food production in the area.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015