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Vernon Farmer's Market wins top spot

The winners of the first annual BC Farmers’ Markets Awards were announced Saturday, and top ‘large size’ market in the entire province went to Vernon!

At the March 1st, 2014 BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) Conference in Vancouver, farmers, artisans, chefs, and farmers’ market organizers from across the province gathered to honour and celebrate excellence in farmers’ markets across BC.

“It was just great, I mean we were really excited. To be honest we thought Kelowna was going to win it, but we are really proud of our market,” said Vernon Farmers' Market Manager Ingrid Baron.

A sentiment the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets hopes to see in all markets and celebrate that across the province.

“Farmers' markets are the places where farmers meet consumers face to face, so building that connection in their own communities is the goal for BCAFM members,” explained BCAFM President, Jon Bell.

“It is wonderful and heartwarming to see so many farmers, and in particular younger farmers, participating in the awards and being recognized for their efforts in achieving that goal.”

The winning markets were selected from the 19 nominated markets. The review panel considered how each farmers’ market added value to their communities and connected producers to consumers through fresh, local foods.

Vernon market was nominated and then had to put together an application package including a letter by Ingrid Baron.

“We had to be nominated first, then write a little ditty about our market and send in some pictures and then I guess they chose us!” cheered Baron.

Her nomination letter included this opening paragraph about the market.

Discover the diversity and uniqueness of the region at The Vernon Farmers' market. It is a strictly Make-It, Bake-It, Grow-It, producer oriented Market with boundaries that allow us to showcase only local products. It has Organic, Wild-harvested, Hot-house and conventional vendors. It is very family friendly, often having children's activities and educational events. It has been a strong part of the Community for 30 years.

“I am just proud, just really proud,” said Baron of the award.

All market nominations were reviewed by Dr. David Connell, Associate Professor with the School of Environmental Planning at the University of Northern British Columbia; Donna Anaka, Industry Development Officer, Domestic Marketing & Promotions Unit, Innovation and Adaptation Services Branch, Ministry of Agriculture; and Brent Warner, Professional Agrologist, Owner of White Loaf Ridge (Canada) and formerly Industry Agritourism and Marketing Specialist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.

Farmers Market of the Year Award Winners:

Sorrento Village Farmer's Market (small category, 7-20 vendors per week)
South Cariboo Farmers' Market in 100 Mile House (medium category, 21-60 vendors per week)
Vernon Farmers’ Market (large category 61+ vendors per week)
UBC Farm Community Market: Special Achievement Award

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