Bring Non-Food Vendors back to BC Farmer's Markets!

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In March 2020 when Covid restrictions first hit BC, non-food vendors such as flower farmers and artisans were removed from farmers markets. It was a stressful time for all but especially so for small, local business owners and flower farmers, some of whom who had thousands of dollars of spring flowers in the fields waiting for eager hands. The first non-food market ban lasted from early April to mid June 2020, and it was incredibly stressful and time consuming having to pivot business models to e-commerce in only a matter of weeks. A second Provincial Health Order banning non-food vendors at farmers markets came again mid December 2020, a time when many small businesses rely on farmers market sales at Christmas time to support their families. Currently, the non-food ban is still in place in BC with no end in sight.

Locally grown flowers are a perishable product and grown in the same way that small scale vegetables are, therefore putting them squarely into the farming realm. Time and time again, it has been said that flowers during the pandemic have comforted and lifted many and are frequently shared between loved ones as a simple gesture for those who can't spend time together in person.

There is no logical reasoning to disallow flower farmers and artisan vendors from farmers markets. The Vancouver Farmers Market has gone above and beyond in adhering to Covid protocols in an outdoor environment, allowing space for shoppers and vendors to interact safely. To date, there have been no exposure or outbreak announcements from any Vancouver Farmers Market. In addition, other retailers are still selling imported flowers and artisan products, which hurts local producers. For some small businesses, the farmers market is their only means of sales and for others, it comprises a large portion of their overall sales.

We would ask that you please sign this petition to allow flower farmers and artisans back to the farmers markets in time for the burst of spring colour that will be arriving in a few short weeks. This petition will be shared with the applicable decision makers in the hopes that our challenges with being excluded from the farmers markets will be heard.

Thank you so much for listening and supporting locally made and grown! We so do value the time taken out of your day to help us move this issue to the next level.