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New Kamloops market shines weekly spotlight on Indigenous artisans, farmers

Image Credit: PEXELS

A new farmers' and crafters' market in Kamloops is providing Indigenous artists and farmers an opportunity to share their products with the community.

“A lot of the growers and crafters have been honing their skills for years,” George Casimir said. He is the general manager at the Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations.

“Many have told me how thankful they were, because they had no access to any events like this to sell their goods and services."

The Kweseltken Farmers' and Artisan Market had a successful launch Aug. 2 at the Kamloops Powwow Arbour, and this weekend marks the official grand opening. The opening ceremony will feature Indigenous drummers, singers and speakers from the community.

The market is hosted by community futures and is geared towards not only supporting the local economy but foster an awareness around food security and agriculture amidst the pandemic.

"It was a scare for a lot of people who couldn’t access groceries and vegetables, farm fresh eggs at the grocery store with the lineups and the fear factor,” Casimir said. “It really gave everybody an eye-opener on the need to be independent, and grow our own. And this is a way to promote that."

Every Sunday until Sept. 27, fresh local produce and handcrafted wares will be sold by a variety of vendors from the community.

"In my opinion, the only thing that ever separated the city and the Kamloops Indian Reserve was the river,” Casimir said. "It’s all about the inclusiveness and everybody being a community and working together.”

He said there are 45 available vendor spots, and artisans from the Kamloops Farmers' Market have been invited to take part as well.

Kweseltken means relative in the Secwepemc language, and it embodies the spirit of the market.

“Everyone within a region is just like one big family,” he said. "I think the name is very fitting, on bringing family and friends together.”

Market organizers are diligent in ensuring safety for customers and vendors, providing masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, he said. There will also be security guards, volunteers and social distancing signage on site.

The market opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. The ceremonies on Aug. 9 will begin with drumming at 9:45 a.m.

For vendor application information contact organizers by email here.

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