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James Bay Beacon – June 1st, 2020

Farmers’ Markets in the Time of Pandemic – James Bay Beacon – June 1st, 2020

Covid-19 is challenging us all to think differently, and, in many situations, to think fast. After attending the opening of this season’s James Bay Market on May 2nd, I have nothing but admiration and respect for the amazing board of directors who, after twenty-four years of running the market that we all know and love, were quickly and competently able to adapt it in accordance with new government regulations, ensuring safety for all. There is no doubt about it, the 2020 James Bay Market is vastly different from previous seasons, but I am delighted to say that it is up and running with everyone’s safety in mind.

One thing that has not and will not change with the pandemic is our need to eat. Though we may not be seeing it immediately, how we think about where we source our food is going to become increasingly pertinent. Covid-19 is starting to show us the many cracks in our broken, globalized food system, and if we do not act now, we will all be very, very hungry in the not-too-distant future. We are currently in the position of making choices that will greatly affect our food security in days to come. We can choose to consume produce that has been harvested by underpaid migrant workers who are risking their lives to work the fields in California and Mexico or we can stroll to our local farmers’ market and pick up freshly harvested seasonal produce directly from the grower. With all the news about Covid-19 decimating the industrial meat and poultry processing plants, it’s starting to make a lot more sense for carnivores to buy their beef directly from Boughneath Farms whose beef is ethnically, free pasture raised, hormone and antibiotic free. Come meet our farmers who care passionately about local raised produce and work diligently to bring you the freshest food possible handled by only them. It is critical that we are supporting our local farmers and food producers now to ensure that they are still around to feed us when the globalized food sources disappear.

Farmers’ markets ARE an essential service, and will continue to run, despite the pandemic. The markets have notably changed from a community gathering place full of food and artisans and live music, to a one stop shop for fresh, local food. No doubt, the market will continue to change throughout the season as the pandemic plays out and the restrictions increase or decrease. Rest assured that each food vendor at the James Bay Market will be taking all necessary precautions to ensure both your safety and theirs. When you attend the market each Saturday, you can do your bit by maintaining safe distances from vendors and other market-goers, washing your hands at the hand washing station, and shopping efficiently so that you do not spend too much time on site. At this point in time, you are still requested to have only one family member at a time attend the market. Be sure to check the James Bay Market website and social media pages for updates on vendors attending, hours, and market layout. There is also an online option for pre-ordering from the market vendors. Visit if you wish to shop ahead of time. We are working hard to make sure all our vendors are featured on Local Line. Please consider using this option.

We invite you to visit James Bay Market every Saturday from 9am-1pm until September 26 to support your local farmers and food producers and help strengthen local food security. On June 6 two of your favourite vendors are joining us for the rest of the season, Singing Bowl Granola and Old Soul Jam Company. We welcome them back along with some other new interesting food producers.

“The James Bay Market would like to respectfully acknowledge that we are visitors on the unceded homelands of the Lekwungen speaking people of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations.”