Krista and Jill Buzzeo of Rainbow Organics present Shawn Newby of the Saanich Sunday Farmers’ Market with a glass window ornament for his work in running the event. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Lack of vendors, foot traffic ends Saanich Farmers’ Market

Sunday summer market will not return in 2019

After two summer seasons at Braefoot Park the Sunday Saanich Farmers’ Market will not return for 2019.

Co-organizer Shawn Newby, the president of Saanich Community Association Network, released the bad news in an email to vendors, volunteers and others on Sunday. Newby co-founded the market with former SCAN president Marsha Henderson for the 2017 summer market season.

Newby said that the growth needed after two years was insufficient to carry on.

READ MORE: Saanich Farmers’ Market completes sophomore season

“We were hoping, year after year, to increase vendorship but it was looking like less vendors for 2019, and more specifically, less of the key vendors, food and farmers,” Newby said.

“We surveyed vendors in the fall, and found the food and farmers were finding it tough considering the foot traffic wasn’t always there.”

In 2018 the Sunday market averaged 25 to 30 vendors and crowds between 450 and 650 for each market, with July stronger than August.

“The bottom line was, we needed the vendors to be a successful market, but they didn’t need another market to be successful,” Newby said.

It was disappointing news for Saanich Coun Nathalie Chambers, who lives and works at Madrona Farm. Though Madrona has a daily vegetable stand at its Blenkinsop Road entrance, they also sold goods at the Saanich Farmers’ Market.

READ MORE: Pair make pitch for Saanich farmers’ market

RELATED: Saanich grows up with farmers’ market

“It’s absolutely disappointing,” Chambers said. “We need to find another location for a Saanich farmers’ market, and for these activities. Saanich is in the middle of a draft agricultural plan, we are [not reaching] our agricultural economic potential in Saanich and not having a farmers’ market is a reinforcement [of the challenges].”

Surprisingly, it was the first farmers’ market in the agriculturally-focused District of Saanich, which still doesn’t allow the activities associated with a farmers’ market in its bylaws.

Newby said the average of four or five food and farm vendors each Sunday was below what they needed as farm vendors were the main focus of the market and the driving force for Newby and co-founder Marsha Henderson. The two – Newby of the Quadra Cedar Hill Community Association and Henderson of the Royal Oak Community Association – spent more than a year convincing Saanich to grant a temporary use permit for the market. Acquiring a temporary use permit required a three-stage proposal before council, committee of the whole and a public hearing.

In addition to the food and farm vendors were three or four local craft beer, wine and spirit vendors, while the rest were craft or artisan vendors.

“Ultimately we didn’t want to make it into an artisan craft market,” Newby said.

The temporary use permit also proved limiting as the market could not change time or location without going through the entire application process again.

“We did inquire about moving on to the grass at Braefoot but even that was not permitted,” Newby said.

In a statement, Newby thanked Braefoot Community Association, Saanich mayor, council and staff, the vendors, the customers, and offered to share his experience with anyone interested in applying to start another farmers’ market.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Oak Bay High bake sale on the Avenue raises funds for mental health

Leadership students hawking baked goods until 3 p.m. Tuesday

Officer leads the flare in Saanich Police’s social media

Triangle dance latest addition to Saanich Police social media anthology

BC Ferries looks for more feedback on 25-year plan for Swartz Bay

Some suggestions already under consideration include a cycling route, waterfront park

U.S. college bribery scandal shines light on serious problem in Canada

Looking at the bigger picture of marginalization in universities

B.C. resident baffled about welcome mat theft

Security footage shows a woman and her dog taking the mat from the property on March 13

Victim succumbs to injuries suffered in Campbell River hit and run

The female pedestrian that was struck in a hit and run on… Continue reading

Trans Mountain court hearing: B.C. says it won’t reject pipelines without cause

Canada says the proposed amendments to B.C.’s Environmental Management Act must be struck down

Carfentanil found in 15% of overdose deaths in January: B.C. coroner

Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than illicit fentanyl and used to tranquilize elephants

B.C. father fights for his life after flu turns into paralyzing condition

Reisig has lost all motor skills with the exception of slight head, shoulder and face movements.

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vernon ordered to reinstate terminated firefighters caught having sex at work

City believes arbitration board erred, exploring options

Most Read