The Hudson’s Hope Farmer’s Market held its annual general meeting April 28, inviting vendors to share their concerns and ideas surrounding COVID-19 and the 2020 season. While farmers’ markets have been declared an essential service by the province, changes in how they operate during the pandemic under provincial health orders are being planned.
Though the Hudson’s Hope market traditionally opens in May, the market will open June 2 this year in order to give vendors more time to produce goods, and allow organizers to make changes if and when provincial restrictions change.
The market will continue to run weekly at Beattie Park on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m.
At present, the market will be limited to 50 people at a time under health orders. RCMP and District Protective Services will be enforcing the limit, along with two-metre social distancing.
“The nice thing about our market is that we a smaller market, so we rarely have more than 50 people there,” said Market Manager Caitlyn Vince.
Due to provincial heath orders, the market will focus on fresh vegetables, locally raised beef, and other food items. Crafts will not be available for sale.
Handwashing stations will also be introduced to the market this year, and vendors will also be required to have hand sanitizers at their tables.
Reg Whitten of Moberly Lake’s Boreal Centre for Sustainability will be joining the ranks of the core vendors, offering non-timber forest products.
“We’re going to be doing a bunch of things around growing food and food security,” said Whitten.
The market holds an appreciation day for vendors in August, however, this year’s event will be cancelled to keep with provincial health orders. The day has been a social affair in the past, complete with a beer garden and live music, drawing more than the usual crowd.
“We won’t be able to have live music, as part of the regulations,” said Vince. If provincial restrictions lift, it could be possible to hold it later in the season, she added.
Vendors are drafting a letter to council requesting support and informing them that the farmers market will be following provincial guidelines.
“The market isn’t being discouraged, but we want to make sure we can monitor how people are coming in,” said Recreation Events Co-ordinator Kristina Coombs. “If there’s more than 50 people, protective services will have to shut it down."
Email reporter Tom Summer at firstname.lastname@example.org.