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Starting a farmers’ market

Shoal Lake Ag Society aims to see markets thrive and vendors grow

Starting a farmers’ market is a challenging task. The Shoal Lake Agricultural Society learned this first hand in hosting single-day markets this past summer.

Besides generating a customer and vendor base there are also key administrative foundations that need to be established.

Although 2014 was the first year that Shoal Lake became involved in a market with two dates held, this year saw a total of nine at the fairgrounds.

“Vendors are drawn from Angus­ville, Hamiota, Shoal Lake and Strathclair,” said Dennis Green of the Shoal Lake Community Development Corporation, which assists the local ag society.

The Shoal Lake market is a member of the Manitoba Farmers Market’s Association of Manitoba Co-op Inc., with an average of five to 10 vendors so far, providing freshly grown produce, and a variety of crafts.

The mission of many farmers’ markets is to: benefit local producers by providing a market for their product; benefit consumers by providing a high-quality, unique product; and benefit the community by building a sense of community, local economic development, and preservation of local agriculture.

Many are now several generations removed from farming, and farmers’ markets remind us of where our food comes from and who tends it.

Farming is a part of our heritage, one that nourishes and supports communities and the natural environment. Let’s support our farmers’ markets!

Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba

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