Vendors and buyers adapt to new Kamloops Farmers’ Market during pandemic - InfoNews

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Vendors and buyers adapt to new Kamloops Farmers’ Market during pandemic

Kamloops Farmers' Market is seen during non-pandemic times on April 20, 2019.
April 21, 2020 - 3:00 PM

With social-distancing tape on the ground, hand sanitizer stations and a head counter, the Kamloops Farmers’ Market launched this past Saturday despite concerns and pushback from those concerned about COVID-19.

Market manager Greg Unger says there was a lower turnout than anticipated, as some vendors backed out for health reasons and the customer count was slim.

“It was a very chill market, very quiet,” Unger says. “I was anticipating a few more people than showed up but I think it’s better this way, because it gave us an opportunity to test everything and make sure our precautions were adequate.”

Unger estimates there were around 500 visitors and 20 vendors, which he says is a fraction of the normal turnout for this time of year. He expects that number to grow as more farmers harvest their goods, and says people can expect to wait in a queue on Third Avenue, the only available entrance.


A walk through of the first outdoor Kamloops Farmers’ Market of 2020 (April 18), highlighting safety protocols.

A post shared by Kamloops Farmers' Market (@kamloopsfarmersmarket) on

When Unger announced that the market would still launch on April 18, he received pushback from people concerned about social distancing requirements and who also questioned the necessity of the market.

“I can respect their opinions though I do really feel it is our mission to bring local food to the community. Even in a time of crisis, food is important,” Unger says. “Regardless of what they say, we feel very committed to what we’re doing.”

While the turnout was low and the feedback wasn’t great, Unger says the recently launched online market platform allowed vendors and customers to connect without having to meet face to face. Unger expects market revenue for the coming weeks to be an equal mix of in-person customers and online sales. He says some of the vendors who can’t set up in the open air market because of government guidelines are still able to sell baked goods, honey, treats, candles and more online.

“It was a very rapid rollout, we only announced it to the public two days before our first market… we’re working out kinks on the backend but vendors are being added almost daily,” Unger says. “When vendors realize how easy the curb-side pickup options, I think that will also make it more popular.”

If you want to check out the next market on Saturday, April 25, you can expect stricter enforcement on social distancing, proper barricades at additional entrances and more sanitizer stations.

Click here to check out the online Kamloops Farmers’ Market.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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