EDITORIAL: Burnaby's farmers market needs a re-think
Farmers markets are booming everywhere, except Burnaby.
The market which started here in 2008 has failed to thrive. A move from Burnaby City Hall to Burnaby Village Museum hasn’t brought out the throngs of people seeking fresh, home-grown and produced food and local crafts. And early indications are the move back to City Hall this year hasn’t worked either.
Yet there’s no reason why a Burnaby market can’t succeed and become a vibrant community meeting place.
In other cities where success has been found, markets have largely been set up in strong, established neighbourhoods. The people there take ownership and make it their own, thankful for an opportunity to get good, fresh food, and a chance to visit a market so close to their homes.
New Westminster’s market is also next to a city hall, but it’s in a park on the edge of the historic Queen’s Park neighbourhood, close to many homes, and many residents walk to the Thursday afternoon market.
The original farm market at Vancouver’s Trout Lake is just a short walk from Commercial Drive, and finds its original flavour from the neighbourhood that surrounds it. As a result, people from far and wide hop on their bikes or SkyTrain to enjoy the atmosphere.
Burnaby’s market is in the geographic heart of the city, but that’s not enough.
This market is struggling because it hasn’t tapped into Burnaby’s community. There could be two, or even three markets in Burnaby.
The Heights is a great place to start, perhaps in the parking lot next to the playground at Confederation Park. If done well, the neighbourhood would embrace it, and it would become a destination.
Edmonds and South Slope might even be possible options to follow.
And they wouldn’t have to be Saturday morning. If the markets are well placed and well promoted, they could happen any afternoon of the week and be successful.