As a Board Member of the Pemberton Farmers’ Market, I’m passionate about locally sourced food, and understand the importance of supporting our local farmers. I also believe that the strength of a community lies in its ability to support those members who face financial challenges that sometimes prevent them participating fully in community life. That’s why I was pleased to find an opportunity to support both, and I’d like to ask you to consider doing the same.

The Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program (FMNCP) is a partnership between the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, the Province of British Columbia, and Provincial Health Services. Community partner organizations distribute coupons to lower-income families and seniors who participate in their food literacy programs. These coupons can be spent at all participating BC farmers’ markets to purchase vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, dairy, cut herbs, meat and fish. The goal of the program is to provide fresh local food to thousands of British Columbians facing economic barriers, while directly supporting local farmers across BC. 

Each week for 16 weeks (beginning in June of each year), coupons of $21 value are distributed to each participant to use at his/her weekly farmers’ market. Our local partner in Pemberton is Sea to Sky Community Services, and last year we were able to support 31 local families. This year, we have identified 40 families and/or seniors who qualify, but we are not guaranteed any particular level of government support. In addition, the funded portion of the program does not allow support of individuals who are not pregnant or seniors, whereas individual donations can do so.

A donation of $25 will allow a low income individual or family to access fresh produce from local growers at the weekly Farmers’ Market. $400 allows them to have that access for the whole season. Individuals, local businesses, sports teams and other organizations can now donate directly to the FMNCP and be eligible for a charitable tax receipt. For more details, or to make your donation, contact our market manager Molli Reynolds or donate directly here. Remember to designate Pemberton as the community to be supported if you want the most local benefit. 

I’m going to be making a donation this year in memory of my mother, May McAdam, a lifelong farmer and passionate community volunteer, who passed away in Ireland in September last year at the age of 91. My brother told me she slipped peacefully away, shortly after he told her that all the barley was sold and the weather had held for baling the straw…. 

Why not give the gift of fresh, locally grown food to families facing economic barriers, while supporting your local farmers?