The Skeena Valley Farmers Market has gone virtual

Hillary Johnson

Its farmers market season, and while some booths in the Northwest are still operating outside while practicing physical distancing, others have taken a creative approach in continuing to operate.The Skeena Valley Farmers Market in Terrace has hopped on the online shopping bandwagon. The site features some of its 75 vendors, including farmers, crafters, and more. Market Manager Margo Peill says the BC Association of Farmers Markets introduced them to the idea of a virtual store, and purchasing goods is just a click away when you visit their Facebook page.

"That will take you to the landing page that is essentially the Skeena Valley Farmers Market, and there you will be able to see all the vendors and all the products the vendors have for sale that are participating. And once you are ready, you can click on the item you would like to purchase and put them in your cart. It will take you specifically to the vendor's store, and then it will show you the options the vendor has specifically set out for pick up and for delivery. So, since we are not doing a physical farmers market at this time, vendors are in charge of organizing their own safe drop-offs and pickups. Some of them are doing where you can pay online, some are doing e-transfer, and some are doing a cash drop. The farmers market is the landing/hosting page and getting all of these vendors together, so people don't have to look for a bunch of different websites."

Unfortunately, the social and entertainment aspect of attending the farmers market will be lost with this new method. Still, she says they are trying not to forget that sense of community interaction.

"That's the really tough part of it and a huge draw to our farmers market given it's been a tough May on our vendors, not being able to see their customers face to face and to not have that launch of spring, but we are working with some social media platforms to try and help people stay a little bit more connected to the vendors and to each other to what's going on in the community. That's kind of the best we can do right now kind of a shift to that virtual connection."

Although it is still not known whether the physical market might be back this season, Peill says the board of directors will be connecting to discuss how it would operate safely. She expressed her excitement about the opportunity to pilot the platform and work out the bugs as well as their ability to adapt the online store as needed.

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