The first run-through for the downtown Trail farmer’s market went off without a hitch on Saturday, albeit there wasn’t the usual chatter or hugs, nor an air of festivity the seasonal event has always carried with it.
Instead there was the required coronavirus precautions in place, like masks and physical distancing, in order for shoppers to have safe access to locally made or grown products, including a variety of plants and seedlings.
Some may wonder why the outdoor affair is open in the first place when so many other small businesses have been forced to close their doors due to the threat of coronavirus contagion.
The reason is that B.C. farmers markets have been declared an essential service by the province, and that includes the smaller-sized Trail’s incrEDIBLE Farmers Market, now in its fifth season.
“We are all volunteers who recognize how vital it is during this very difficult time to shop for fresh and local food,” long-time volunteer Gina Ironmonger told the Trail Times.
Months before the pandemic began looming, the dedicated team had already planned for the market to launch on May 2 with the theme of ‘Mad Hatter Garden Party,’ including activities for all ages.
“COVID-19 changed all that,” Ironmonger said.
The plans evolved so the market could still happen every other Saturday, and the community rallied to help out with the required precautions.
The Tuesday Morning Quilters, for example, sewed masks and hats for the volunteers. Market helpers were set up at opposite ends of the 1300 block of Cedar Avenue with walkie-talkies so they could keep track of the number of shoppers permitted inside at one time. They also directed each person how to navigate the booths to maintain physical distancing measures.
Of course, hand sanitizer stations were at-the-ready as well.
“This is an essential food access retail outlet for local residents to purchase food, while ensuring local farmer livelihoods and reducing food and crop losses,” Ironmonger stressed.
“The markets will have a food and agriculture focus.”
The next market day is slated for Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“With COVID-19, the market this year will be more labour intensive,” said Ironmonger. “So if you would like to soak up a little Vitamin D, have three hours a couple of times a month to spare as a volunteer, please call.”
To lend a hand, contact Gina Ironmonger at at 250.231.8671.