On June 8, Somba K’e Park will be filled with Yellowknifers shopping for produce, meals, crafts and other fare for the first farmers market of the season.
Like last year, public health measures of social distancing, sanitizing and “shop don’t stop” procedures will continue to be in place. Vendors will be spaced along the path and a limited number of shoppers are allowed within market grounds at a time. No more than 150 people can be at the site.
Nia Reid, Yellowknife Farmers Market manager, said that although “we technically can’t stop and gather, it’s still a chance to be close.”
The market is a way for residents to join their community and come together over food.
“Especially in Yellowknife, community is a really big thing here,” Reid said. “It’s kind of amazing when you come from somewhere else.”
Though they weren’t able to have performers at the amphitheatre last year, artists will again be playing music for weekly market-goers.
The market, occurring every Tuesday from June to September, will provide residents with a chance to support familiar vendors such as Bush Order Provisions, Le Refuge Farms and Perched Pottery, as well as new businesses such as food truck Aurora Grill. More than 30 vendors will rotate from week to week.
Beyond providing a venue for Yellowknifers to gather at a distance, Reid said “it’s huge to have that grower, maker to consumer relationship.”
Promoting food security in the North has been a part of the market’s mandate from the get-go, and the pandemic has further demonstrated the territory’s susceptibility to food insecurity, Reid said.
“The market also helps people in their food growing journey,” she said. “It offers that place to set up and trial your business.”
The harvesters’ table, returning after last year’s hiatus, is one example of an opportunity for new growers to sell their yield.
The table allows hobby growers to bring in excess produce to sell alongside others doing the same. While the market keeps a portion of the proceeds to fund its operations – 25 per cent from the harvesters’ table, for example – Reid said the majority goes back to the growers.
As organizers are in the final stages of market preparation, Reid emphasized that while Yellowknifers are more familiar with reminders of COVID safety measures, the pandemic is still ongoing.
She reminds residents to not touch products they don’t plan on buying, to maintain proper social distancing when possible and that they again will be unable to bring their own containers to the market – though vendors are encouraged to use disposable packaging for food.
She encourages shoppers to check the market’s social media channels for updates and invites Yellowknifers to come support vendors and shop the fruits of their labours.