Provided by the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Blog, farmersmarketsnovascotia.com/blog
Last month, the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) interviewed a selection of current and new farmers about the future of farming in Nova Scotia. One of the recurring topics that arose from these interviews was the role Farmers’ Markets play in fostering young farmers.
According to Jocelyn Durston, co-owner of Seven Acres Farm, “Farmers’ markets offer a low-cost, low-pressure venue to build relationships with customers and explore market potential,” says Durston. Durston and her partner Chris Kasza moved to Nova Scotia from British Columbia, in search of farmland. Now in their second year of farming outside of Canning, Seven Acres Farm sells at the Tantallon Village Farmers’ Market and the Wolfville Farmers’ Market. “I love farmers’ markets and likely wouldn’t be where I am as a self-employed farmer without them” Durston says.
Keltie Butler, Executive Director of Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia, feels that farmers’ markets undoubtedly play a role in increasing local agriculture production and consumption. “Farmers’ Markets offer extraordinary access to delicious, fresh, healthy, local food. They provide communities with agricultural awareness and invite relationship between producer and consumer.” Butler says.
The Provincial Government, under EGSPA, has set a goal that by the year 2020, 20% of the food purchased in Nova Scotia will be produced in Nova Scotia. The Ivany Report echoes and furthers this goal, calling for a doubling of the value of agricultural products produced in Nova Scotia for the local market.
Courtney Webster, a young farmer and co-owner of Olde Furrow Farm in the Annapolis Valley, would also like to see this goal achieved. “I wish customers could really see how much impact their purchases make. Some years you squeak by and think ‘thank god that guy had to buy 50lbs of pickling cucumbers… now we have enough to pay the light bill!'” Webster says. Webster and her husband Adam sell their produce at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, where they are able to speak directly with customers. “Through the sharing of education on the benefits of purchasing a local product, consumers can understand that they are helping in more ways than one when choosing local” Webster says.
Durston echoes Courtney’s sentiment. “I’d love to challenge Nova Scotians to commit to doing their grocery shopping at a farmers’ market once a week for a month – and using this as an opportunity to see how eating in season can be so satisfying and how the quality of the food compares to what is found elsewhere.”
For more on this story, visit the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia blog at farmersmarketsnovascotia.com/2016/05/10/meet-3-young-women-farming-in-nova-scotia/