Saanich Farmers’ Market might be no more, but it continues to make a difference.
The organization donated its remaining bank balance of $1,700 to the Shelbourne Community Kitchen.
Shawn Newby, who managed the market, said the outgoing board donated the money because the kitchen helps many people in the area.
“We wanted to make sure that any remaining money was donated in the spirit of food security,” he said. “The [kitchen] is not only local, but it ensures residents within the valley have access to food and food preparation classes.”
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes welcomed the donation. “This is excellent news and a great donation,” he said.
The Shelbourne Community Kitchen opened in March 2015. Located in a modest house in the 3500-block of Shelbourne Street, the facility offers programs that teach participants how to source, choose and prepare healthy food more affordably through its communal kitchen, where participants receive cooking lessons from trained volunteers, almost half of which are also program participants. The kitchen also runs a garden and serves as a resource centre, building relations and resilience along the way. It also runs an emergency pantry program.
Newby, who co-founded the market and currently serves as president of Saanich Community Association Network, announced in early 2019 that the market won’t return for a third year.
“We were hoping, year after year, to increase vendorship but it was looking like less vendors for 2019, and more specifically, less of the key vendors, food and farmers,” Newby said.
Newby said he was not sure what the future holds, when asked about plans for a future farmers’ market.
“There are many incredible markets within the region such as the [Moss Street Market] and the Esquimalt Farmers Market,” he said. “If Saanich were to host one again, it would probably need to be on a weeknight and in a better location. I’m happy to play a role getting another one off the ground if someone has better time and location in mind.”