Yes, it’s incrEDIBLE and happening on a downtown street – Trail’s first farmers market is just three weeks away.
And it’s going to be a win-win for everyone from farmers to families and local businesses, says Gina Ironmonger, promoter for incrEDIBLE trail and now, Trail’s incrEDIBLE Farmers Market.
“It’s going to be an extension of the incrEDIBLE trail Green Route,” Ironmonger explained. “And another springboard of community gathering and experience, and an opportunity to talk not only directly with our farmers but all the businesses and service organizations on Trail’s green route which already grow food for passersby and the food bank.”
Trail council green lighted the farmers market initiative last week, but a few details still need ironing out before the inaugural day on May 14.
“Our preferred location is the 1300 block of Cedar Avenue,” said Ironmonger. “But we are still waiting to find out whether or not BC Transit will reroute the bus.”
The idea is to close down the block to traffic from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on the 11 planned market days, and even though there aren’t any stops on that stretch, the city has to pursue permission through its service provider, the regional district.
In absence of the permit, Ironmonger assures the farmers market will still liven up a downtown street, but an alternate locale has not been decided and would pend Trail council’s pre-approval.
Those particulars aside, Ironmonger had another hurdle to clear before the initiative could become a reality. She often hears that nobody is downtown on Saturday, especially in the summer.
“Sometimes you have to have a reason to come downtown,” she replies. “When you take a look at our whole area, communities together, you have a population of about 20,000,” Ironmonger added.
“And all those people aren’t at the lake.”
Promoting good nutrition through locally grown food is only one bonus, she continued.
The farmers market can become an economic driver by increasing foot traffic to all downtown businesses, some of which are struggling to stay afloat.
“It’s really important to note the farmers market is make it, bake it, grow it or raise it,” Ironmonger explained. “So they are not in competition with the existing businesses, rather the businesses can be part of it.
“And they are really excited and working on an already great relationship between the vendors and business community.”
Those who make it, bake it, grow it and raise it, are also very keen on becoming part of Trail’s first farmers market.
“When we did our research, we found many vendors also work and cannot do the weekday markets,” she said. “So they are also very excited to have a Saturday to come to the market and provide their products. Basically, by supporting the buy local movement, your dollars stay in the area while you invest in your family’s health through locally grown food.”
The incrEDIBLE Farmers Market is the latest Trail project added to the volunteer group’s ongoing list of community ventures.
Now in its third year, the green route’s edible storefront planters have spread well beyond downtown Trail to outlying businesses. Greater Trail supporters fundraised for the incrEDIBLE Gulch Community Food Bank Garden that now in its second year, will add another four planters this summer.
At the pinnacle of all growing Trail initiatives, however, is a behemoth – climate change.
“Our area is projected to have 30 more frost free days by 2050,” says Ironmonger. “That means our area will become more important to the food basket especially as more demand is placed on province’s three main growing areas. So yes, the underlying initiative of all of this, is sustainable local agriculture.”