A celebration of West Coast local goods

On Tuesday July 31st, Deanna and I loaded the car and headed up-Island for the famous Parksville Summer by the Sea Street Market that takes place weekly from 6 to 9PM. As we do not often attend events during the week, we were pleasantly surprised to see that the market was just as busy or busier than our weekend venues. This street market draws huge crowds who come to sample the locally baked goods and browse through the variety of island arts and craft. Artisans spanning many generations were present at the market offering a variety of products, from woven baskets to native jewelry. The up-beat music from the Zumba demonstration made for very lively ambiance. The sign we taped to the side of our booth announcing our petition against oil tanker increase in the Strait drew in a lot of passersby interested in learning more about the Trans Mountain pipeline and Kinder Morgan’s expansion project. We ended up having a queue for our petition, which stimulated lively group discussions. A big thank you to Lynda, the Summer by the Sea Street Market coordinator, for organizing such a dynamic night market.

Always interested to learn more about the BC pipeline issues and seeking to find positive solutions, Deanna and I attended a talk at Vancouver Island University by Dr. Riki Ott, a Marine Toxicologist who monitored the environmental impact of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The first half of her presentation focused on the ongoing environmental and health impacts of both the Exxon Valdez and BP oil spills and the fact that you can never completely “clean-up” an oil spill. In the second part of her talk, she presented inspiring examples of successful community driven initiatives for change. Thank you to the Nanaimo Sierra Club for organizing this interesting presentation. 
Deanna standing next to our booth at
the West End Farmers Market
On Saturday August 4, our now weekly venture to Vancouver led us to the West End Farmers Market located on Comox Street across from Nelson Park. The West End Market is one of the five summer Farmers Markets in Vancouver. This venue, where most booths were filled with piles of colorful fresh local produce, was quite different from the very craft oriented Parksville Night Market. I was surprised at how many producers were present and at how quickly some of them sold out. This is good news for Vancouver’s local food system! Amidst the booths, we identified known faces, such as the folks from Little Qualicum Cheeseworks that seem to be present at many BC markets. Due to space limitation, we restricted our display to the octopus (obviously!), GSA’s general brochure and newsletter, the oil tanker petition and FAQ brochure, and the Communities Atlas. This smaller display proved very successful. We had a lot of curious market goers browsing through the many icons of GSA’s Communities Atlas displayed on the laptop, and the oil tanker issue was yet again a popular conversation subject. A big joyful MERCI! to the market manager Roberta and the Vancouver Farmers Market team for welcoming us to the West End Farmers Market. In addition, we appreciated them placing our table right in the centre of action between a stack of colorful root vegetables and irresistible berries.
This coming weekend we will be back at the South Cowichan Farmers Market on Sunday. Come check out this blossoming farmers market and learn more about our Communities Atlas. 
À bientôt!

                -Isabelle

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