“Our real focus right now is getting an executive organized,” she explains. “I think if that happens I think it can fall into place,” adding, “If people in the Farmers Market want to have a farmer’s market, they need to step forward and be an exec.”
She also points out that someone doesn’t have to be a vendor to be on the board, and it may even be beneficial to have someone with an outside interest in charge. At the final market of 2012, Calder announced she would not be serving on the executive anymore, for a variety a reasons, and it’s likely the Treasurer, Vice President and Secretary will not keep their positions after the AGM on Saturday.
The Farmers Market has struggled over the past couple years, especially after new rate structures for city-owned building rentals meant the the cost for renting the North Peace Arena went up from $110 a year to $3456 a month. The City admitted it did not realize the effect the restructuring would have on the Farmers Market, and agreed to a reduced, graduated rent for the next two years, but also recommended it find a new home. Calder says she has recently been in discussion with another group in town that could supply a space, and says if an agreement can be made, she will suggest they take it.
“The agreement with the City is that they can cancel it, or we can cancel it, with two weeks notice,” she explains, “so if they can get something else going this year, I’d think they should do that.”
Admitting that, despite spending $9,000 in advertising, many people in Fort St. John still don’t know there is even a Farmers Market, Calder has other suggestions for improving the market itself. She suggests a greater range of vendors will bring in more shoppers, including selling more food.
“If we could have something where there’s lots of variety of food that people could even eat while they’re there, or take home to eat, I think it would probably attract more people.”
She also believes reducing the hours and months it is open would also be beneficial.
The Farmers Market Association is holding its AGM this Saturday, April 6 in room 105 at Northern Lights College, starting at 1 p.m. The biggest question is whether anyone will rise to the challenge of keeping the Fort St. John Farmers Market alive.