A statement from the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market board of directors

The Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market board of directors has provided the following comment regarding the Wild Flight Farm controversy.

The Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer file photo

A statement from the Revelstoke Farm & Craft Market board of directors:

The Board of Directors of the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market wish to provide a clear statement concerning the non-renewal of Wild Flight Farm’s membership in our farmer’s market, which operates during the summer season in Revelstoke.

As we and the community of Revelstoke recognize, Wild Flight Farm has provided a consistent broad spectrum of produce to the people of Revelstoke over the past two decades. It is our understanding that they sell produce which they both grow and re-sell from other growers in BC, along with imported produce from countries outside of Canada. In doing so, this has enabled Wild Flight Farm to supply produce year-round and provides a strong alternative to conventional grocery stores.

Wild Flight Farm also operates the Winter Market in Revelstoke independently. As an independent operator of this Winter Market, Wild Flight Farm can operate in a manner according to their own criteria as desired, including adding other food and farm vendors if they choose. The Winter Market is not operated by the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market, nor is it a member of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM).

For background, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets is an umbrella association which represents over 135 independent farmers’ market member organizations across BC. As a grassroots member driven organization, BCAFM member farmers’ markets have collectively endorsed the “make it, bake it, grow it” philosophy and practices since the founding of its Association in 2000. The BCAFM is a grass-roots association made up of individual farmers’ market organizations in which membership is optional.

The Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market has chosen to be a member of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, and like other farmers’ market members, strongly endorse a BC make, bake, grow philosophy. This builds trust and creates an authentic farmers’ market experience while also supporting BC’s small farmers, food producers and artisans, and provides British Columbians with access to local, BC, in season goods, direct from producers.

The Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market is a non-profit society and provides a community venue for small, local family farms and crafters and is managed by a volunteer board. It is a grassroots market which is based on 100% home grown BC produce. Local farmers and small farms in BC need our community support to be viable. The fact is smaller, local, family farms in BC cannot compete with larger farms and imported produce from outside of BC and Canada.

Every vendor signs an annual application form on which they agree to abide by the rules and “make, bake, grow” philosophy of the RFCM. Year after year Wild Flight Farm has asked the Board of Directors to allow the selling of imported produce at the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market. This has created a clear split in operating values, philosophy and resulted in conflict. Wild Flight Farm operates as a retailer elsewhere in other communities and including the Winter Market in Revelstoke, reselling imported produce from wholesalers, which in part is in conflict with the concept of farmers markets supporting local BC farmers.

We believe to best serve our community authentically, while supporting a range of local, BC farmers of all sizes who adhere to the make, bake, grow philosophy, the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market needs to operate with integrity and adhere to this philosophy. We are excited by the substantial increase in new young, local farmers who wish to participate in our summer market while also respecting the make, bake, grow philosophy. With our current and new farm and food vendors, the community of Revelstoke can expect the same experience with an increase of “in season” fresh, local produce grown exclusively in BC.

Using the Recreation Centre’s parking lot, Wild Flight Farm is able to set up a private market with ease and with their own criteria and philosophy independently. They have done so successfully in Salmon Arm. From our viewpoint, Wild Flight Farm is not a victim of the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market Board. We encourage them to continue selling elsewhere on a year round basis and with imported produce if they desire. We request that Wild Flight Farm respect our organizational decision, supported by our board, multiple market vendors and community members to operate the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market authentically and featuring exclusively BC grown food and food products. The community of Revelstoke deserve a choice in markets and trust in the source of the food they purchase at our farmer’s market.

The Board of Directors of the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market wish to move in a progressive direction; to move beyond half true stories and to end the campaign to hurt the individuals who work very hard as volunteers to organize the Revelstoke Farm and Craft Market. We are not perfect and we know we still have things to learn as our organization grows. Let us work together in the interest of our community and create choice for Revelstoke community members and an authentic BC farmers’ market experience.

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