The YK Farmer’s Market wants to help you sell your fruits and vegetables
The Yellowknife Farmers Market returns next month with an incentive for residents to grow their own vegetables and sell them at the market, aided by new supporters.
The Northwest Territories market is unique from its southern counterparts because, unlike provincial markets, only a small minority of vendors in Yellowknife sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Organizers hope to change that.
“That’s the number one comment we get from people,” France Benoit, a longtime Yellowknife farmer, told city councilors during a presentation Tuesday.
Benoit, a founder of the Yellowknife Farmers’ Market who now sits on its board, said backyard gardeners will be encouraged to grow produce and bring their surplus harvest to market.
“Now more than ever, we need to learn how to feed ourselves,” she said, pointing to the recent devastation of farms by flooding in Hay River, severe drought in California and heat waves and flooding in Columbia. British last year.
With funding from the territorial government, the Yellowknife Market is offering gift cards to local garden centers to residents who agree to bring produce to the farmers market at least twice this year.
The Yellowknife Market sells growers’ produce on their behalf at its harvest table each week. He has developed a manual on how to start a Fishermen’s Table, which the Government of the Northwest Territories distributes to other communities interested in doing the same.
“We all have production surpluses at some point,” Benoit said. “If 10 people bring their zucchini, then we have 10 zucchini.”
Later in the season, she said the market hopes to connect with people who have berry bushes or trees in Saskatoon who can’t or won’t harvest the berries themselves.
To further increase local vegetable production, the market has hired a garden coach who will be at the pickers’ table each week to answer questions. A series of lunchtime workshops began at the end of last month.
Benoit added that the Farmers’ Market is working on a land-sharing program that connects people who want to grow food but don’t have the space with those who have a greenhouse or garden bed to spare.
Finally, the market has hired a “garden angel” who will help maintain a dozen raised beds in the city’s downtown – the beds have been donated to the market – as well as harvest produce for the people who cannot do it themselves.
This year, Benoit said, the market – which runs from June 7 to September 15 – will have 43 vendors, half of them new, and more local artisans than ever.
She said the marketplace is like an “incubator for small businesses” as it provides advertising, location and insurance, among other mediums.
“We hope for a good season,” she said.