The Ashcroft Farmers’ Market is planning a special Kids’ Day celebration on Sunday, July 16 at its market on Railway Avenue at the Heritage Park.
The market organizers are lining up a number of exciting activities for kids, including face painting and a great storytelling experience from local children’s author Jeff Bloom, who made his debut appearance at the market on July 9.
Alex Humes, executive director, business operations for the Ashcroft Farmers and Artisans Co-op, which runs the market, says that while the market usually runs from 8 a.m. to noon each Sunday, they’re looking to extend the hours on July 16 so that it’s accessible to more kids.
“We applied for a little bit of funding so we can do some fun things. In addition to Jeff Bloom, and face painting, vendors will be doing special activities and items for kids. We’re trying to tailor the market more to kids that week, and make it a celebration. It’s summer now, and kids are out of school having fun, so yay kids!”
The market has been running for more than two months, and is a registered farmers’ market, meaning it participates in the Nutrition Coupon program. It’s one of the reasons the organizers decided to become a registered market, and this year they have been able to partner with the Cook’s Ferry Band’s Heskw’en’scutxe Health Services Society to provide coupons to 20 households (single people and families) in the region.
“If you as a farmers’ market want to apply for this program, you have to find a community partner, such as a registered charity that deals with food insecurity or a non-profit that helps families, and ask them if they want to apply to become a partner for the program,” explains Humes. “Once you find someone, they supply an application saying we have X number of families and individuals we can help with this program, and they’re told how many people they can help this year.”
The Nutrition Coupon program is funded through the province, and provides lower-income people and families, including seniors, with access to fresh and nutritious foods from local farmers’ markets. Humes says that coupons are given to the partner agency and then distributed to participants, who can spend them at any participating farmers’ market, such as Ashcroft.
“People can save them up or spend them weekly,” explains Humes. “But they only cover specific things like produce, meat, fish, food-producing plants, honey, and dairy. They don’t cover anything like baking or jams; nothing that’s been processed or dried.”
She adds that markets can raise funds for their own program via donations from any person or organization. They also have the ability to add more community partners, in order to expand the number of people the program can reach.
“We were in the process of incorporation this year and had to have everything in place to get the program. We can’t add more this year, but we can work on adding more partners for next year and fundraise in the off-season.
“We’re definitely interested in expanding it for next year as the market expands. We know that we’ve been accepted once. We’re viable, and we can run it and manage it, and we’d love to get it bigger.”