VICTORIA, B.C. – The federal and provincial governments are funding farmers’ markets to help them expand and operate during emergencies.

In a news release Wednesday, the new BC Farmers’ Market Expansion Program was announced as a way to accommodate more vendors, maintain operations during emergencies and to ensure B.C. communities have continued access to food.

“Community-based farmers’ markets across B.C. are a key anchor for local and regional food systems supporting thousands of local farm, food and artisanal businesses,” said Heather O’Hara, executive director, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.

“The BC Farmers’ Market Expansion Program is a critical investment in the resiliency of local farmers’ markets, which have risen to the challenge and fed our communities in both good times and throughout COVID, forest fires and flooding.”

Up to $15,000 is available for each eligible applicant with a program total of $475,000.

“With the floods and wildfires in B.C. this past year, farmers’ markets give us a chance to directly support our local farmers, who, despite all the challenges, continue to deliver great food for us,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food.

“This investment will help B.C. farmers bounce back in the coming years by making sure farmers’ markets can serve our communities in times of need.”

The funds can be used for signs and merchandising, storage and transportation, and power and operations costs. Non-profits, co-operatives, for-profit corporations, local governments and First Nations are eligible to apply.

“This new program funding will help ensure farmers’ markets can stay open and operate during emergencies so British Columbians can access the foods they count on,” said B.C. Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Lana Popham.

“Through the pandemic and extreme weather events the province has seen over the last year and a half, the importance of local food has never been greater. Markets will be able to grow and welcome more vendors while keeping everyone healthy and safe.”

The application window is open until January 28th at noon. Funding is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, or until the funding has been fully distributed.

To apply, click here.