A year in which the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market has grown dramatically has helped solidify the Creston Valley Food Action Coalition (CVFAC) as one of Creston Valley’s most important organizations.
President Len Parkin said recently that the market and the popular Harvest Share program have benefited from the support of community groups, individual volunteers, landowners and customers.
“We wouldn’t have been able to achieve so much this past year without them,” he said.
Earlier this year, farmers’ market managers and volunteers worked with the British Columbia Association of Farmers’ Markets to detail the social and economic benefits of the market in the Creston Valley.
“The estimated benefit of the Creston Valley Farmers’ Market to the local economy is approximately $1.72 million annually,” Parkin said.
The value of the Harvest Share program is harder to assess, but the demand has grown since its inception.
“Our Harvest Share program harvested approximately 30,000 pounds of produce locally this year, which otherwise would have gone to waste,” he said. “About a third of that amount is distributed to 14 local charities.”
Harvest Share volunteers and the property owners each receive a third of the picked produce.
“These figures clearly indicate that our farmers’ market manager and Harvest Share co-ordinator are doing a fabulous job for all of us in our community,” he said.
Parkin acknowledged the commitment of the local business community to the programs’ success. The Creston Valley Advance sponsors advertising, Kokanee Ford supplied a truck for the Harvest Share program’s pickups and deliveries and Pro-to-Call donated a computer.
The Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, he said, provides office space that allows the organization to function more professionally and effectively, the College of the Rockies provides monthly meeting space, the Columbia Brewery donates boxes for the fruit and vegetables and the Town of Creston allows use of the farmers’ market space adjacent to Millennium Park.
“And, of course, Lloyd Morris has provided rental space in the Morris Flowers greenhouse for the past three years, giving us one of the longest running farmers’ markets in the B.C. Interior,” Parkin said.