Kweseltken Farmers' and Artisan Market kicks off 2022 season

First Nations market returns

Visitors to the Kweseltken Farmer’s and Artisan Market on Sunday were greeted by live music and more than 30 vendors selling food, produce and handmade items.

The Indigenous owned and operated market has returned to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc for its third season, and a grand opening ceremony was held Sunday to welcome everyone back.

George Casimir, general manger for the Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations, said it was “amazing” to see vendors and community members return to the market, particularly after a challenging 2021 season filled with smoke, heat and wildfires.

“To see all of our friends come back from such a year we had last year, with all of the moves and evacuations and the tremendous hardship everybody went through. To see everybody back smiling, [a] beautiful day, great food on the grill — it’s just amazing,” Casimir said.

“Good support for our vendors and good support for all of the visitors. All of Kamloops, everywhere, you are all welcome.”

Casimir said visitors to the Kweseltken market can expect “a little bit of everything,” including food prepared from the Kweseltken Kitchen, a mobile unit that also teaches people how to properly process foods using methods like canning and smoking.

“Right from information booths — like Tourism Kamloops joins us every Sunday — great food vendors, all the bannock you can eat, and then you go to the growers with the strawberries and fresh vegetables to the artisans who have their beautiful handcrafted moccasins and earrings,” Casimir said.

He said vendors are also selling handmade clothes, and there is even a fundraiser raffle booth that will help support local fundraisers.

This year, Casimir said a partnership between the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Indigenous Food Sovereignty program and CFDC of CIFN market organizers is bringing new things to the Kweseltken market.

“CIFN and my team, we pretty much ran this independently for two years. We did recognize where we were in our host community, but just makes sense. They have things to bring to the table, we have things, and working together just makes more sense than working in silos,” George said.

“With that partnership, we'll have garden boxes here for elders and those who are just going through a little bit of difficulty to make sure there's fruit and vegetables, canned goods. There could be eggs or a number of things that we can provide through TteS and their good food box program.”

He said the market is also now part of the Nutrition Coupon program, allowing lower-income people, seniors and those who are pregnant to redeem BC Association of Farmers’ Markets coupons for vendors’ products.

Casimir said he hopes to see a market season full of good weather and a better summer for everyone.

“I‘m just looking forward to seeing more of this and I can't wait. I bet you by the middle of summer, that parking lot is going to be full, like absolutely full. And that's going to be amazing.”

The Kweseltken Farmers and Artisans Market is set to run at the TteS powwow arbour each Sunday until Sept. 25.

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