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									BRITISH COLUMBIA FARMERS’ MARKETS STRATEGIC PLAN 2006-2010

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BC FARMERS’ MARKETS STRATEGIC PLAN 2006 – 2010
1. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLDGEMENTS 2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 3. FARMERS’ MARKETS IN BC 3.1 Current Situation 3.2 Farmers’ Markets and BCAFM 3.3 Vision and Purpose of this plan 4. THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS 4.1 Preplanning Survey    Vision and Values Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Strategic Issues

4.2 Planning Committee Sessions 4.3 Sector Response 5. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS 5.1 Strengths 5.2 Weaknesses 5.3 Opportunities 5.4 Threats or Challenges 5.5 Potential Partners 6. KEY PERFORMANCE AREAS: GOALS, OUTCOMES AND MAIN STRATEGIES 6.1 Education and Training 6.2 Farmers Markets’ Visibility 6.3 Sector Research and Development 7. IMPLEMENTING THE PLAN 7.1 Administration and Disbursement of Funds 7.2 Summary Tables     8. BUDGET 9. CONCLUSION Strategies and Actions Selected Performance Indicators Cost Factors Matching Resources and Strategic Partners

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1. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLDEGEMENTS The board of directors is pleased to present this report on behalf of the Farmers‘ Markets of British Columbia. Comments and enquires about the report should be directed to the President of the BC Association of Farmers‘ Markets as indicated below. The board of Directors would like to take this time to thank the Investment Agriculture Foundation for their financial support in the preparation of this report. The Board of Directors are grateful for the cooperation of the members of the industry who attended meetings and gave willingly of their time and knowledge to make this plan possible. The suggestions and conclusions in this report were reached using the knowledge and experience of people involved in the industry. The report was prepared by Quercus Consulting on behalf of the BC Association of Farmers‘ Markets Strategic Planning Committee. Members of the industry extend their thanks to Quercus Consulting. The BC Association of Farmers‘ Market Strategic Planning Committee Don Parmenter, Chair Mary Forstbauer Director Nina Gribble Director Dieter Dudy Director Dean Rohrer Director Del Myers Director Jordan Sturdy Director Martin Miller Director Bertie Wells Executive Director Mary DuNor Industry Representative Ray Gribble Industry Representative Brent Warner Ministry of Agriculture and Lands ex-officio member

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2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Although farmers’ markets have a long history in BC they have in the past few years experienced a near exponential growth in popularity. They have also come together as a sector relatively recently to form their own provincial organization, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM). Sales at farmers’ markets have become a major source of income for vendors, so markets make a significant contribution to the viability of family farms and to the local economies in which they operate. For urban consumers market vendors have become the ―face of agriculture in BC.‖ This plan will build on these developments to make the ties between markets stronger and the sector even larger, more visible and more professionally managed. The plan is a product of extensive discussion within the farmers’ market sector over the last several years, as well as more detailed consultation among active participants and market representatives. The actual planning document was crafted over four days of meetings by a committee composed mainly of BCAFM directors, who are themselves broadly representative of the sector, both geographically and by producer group. The plan will use the substantial strengths of farmers’ markets to help them capitalize on perceived opportunities and mitigate any identified weaknesses. It sets out three ―Key Performance Areas‖ for the sector: 1. Education and Training 2. Farmers’ Market Visibility 3. Sector Research and Development There are 1 – 3 major goals in each of these areas, with a number of planned strategies and actions contributing to their achievement. Over the course of the five-year plan these strategies and actions will be detailed and expanded in annual work plans and budgets, and they may be revised based on experience. While all projects envisioned by the plan should benefit farmers’ markets generally, it is expected that some projects will be undertaken by individual markets and others will be initiated by their provincial organization. To finance the plan the sector is applying to establish an Agri-Food Futures Fund for the benefit of farmers’ markets, to be matched equally with revenue and in-kind contributions generated by the sector. This equal cost-sharing will be achieved over the life of the plan, though some aspects of it may require a greater percentage contribution from the Fund in earlier years. The total global budget for the 5-year life of the plan is $468,000.

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3. FARMERS’ MARKETS IN BC 3.1 Current Situation While farmers’ markets have always been a potential outlet for agricultural producers in BC, the number and popularity of markets have increased considerably in recent years. Coincident with this growth, markets have begun to identify themselves as a distinct economic sector and band together through their provincial organization, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. The organization is well-supported but under-resourced. The current situation in BC contrasts with a province like Ontario where there is a long-established government-supported central organization with the capacity to assist new market development and the infrastructure to provide extensive services to its members. However, recent growth here suggests the potential exists for a similarly well-developed farmers’ market sector in BC. Some significant societal trends have supported this growth and seem likely to continue to do so. Over the past several decades there has been an increase in public consciousness about food quality as well as concerns over food security. The ―slow food‖ movement has developed as a reaction to fast, often unhealthy, mass-produced food, while local chefs have set about creating a distinctively west coast cuisine that emphasizes the use of fresh local ingredients. As these ideas permeated the broader population more consumers have come to want the direct contact with their food sources that farmers markets provide. Specific government initiatives such as Buy BC, the Act Now Program and the Healthy Eating Campaign are also seen as contributors to the sector’s growth. 3.2 Farmers’ Markets and BCAFM The BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) has emerged as the central co-ordinating organization and main voice for markets in the province. By BCAFM’s calculation there are now 101 farmers’ markets operating in British Columbia. Many have sprung up only in the last couple years. They range in size from a few farmers selling off the backs of their trucks to large highlystructured urban markets serving thousands of customers with a variety of fresh produce and artisanal food products. All would benefit from programs, services and financial resources that could help them manage their operations more effectively. Sixty of these markets are members of BCAFM, and these members represent around 2500 vendors.1 The average market season is 28 weeks, and during that season the average market frequency is twice per week. Some member societies operate more than one market in different locations. The markets’ total annual sales volume is unknown at this point.

It may be more accurate to speak of the number of ―vendor stalls,‖ since some producers sell at more than one market and would be counted in this number at every market in which they participate. In any case the number of vendors selling through farmers’ markets is substantial.
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BCAFM identifies itself strongly as an agricultural organization. Its mission is: “To support, develop and promote farmers’ markets in British Columbia.” Member markets meet the following definition:
A "farmers' market" is a market comprised [sic] exclusively (100%) of vendors who make, bake, grow or raise the products they sell, of which a majority of the vendors are selling farm products of British Columbia origin. These markets must be British Columbia non-profit organizations, whether incorporated or not, with at least 6 vendors, that operate for 2 or more hours per day for a minimum of 4 markets in a year.

BCAFM hopes at some point to represent all markets that meet this definition and will be working toward that goal. Nevertheless, this plan is intended to benefit all farmers’ markets in the province, regardless of whether they are members of the central organization or not. A project from any market that is consistent with this plan will be considered for AFFF funds. BCAFM’s annual conference, held at various locations around the province, has been one of its chief activities. The conference serves as the organization’s annual meeting, but market delegates who attend can also benefit from taking workshops, hearing speakers, attending an associated trade show and networking with other market directors and vendors. The conference is open to all markets, though members pay a lower conference registration fee than non-members. This is one of several benefits and services BCAFM provides to members including:         Reduced premiums on market liability and directors and officers insurance Listing on the BCAFM website Highway signage Opportunities to network with other member markets Preferential pricing on merchandise (e.g. shopping bags) Representation to senior governments Connections and representation to national and international movement of farmers’ markets and other agricultural organizations Reduced fees for food-safe courses

Member dues in BCAFM are presently $150 per year. As this strategic plan is implemented the organization expects to be able to increase the portion of its revenue generated from dues, both by increasing membership and by dues increases commensurate with expanded member services. Dues and fees will serve as matching funds for any project sponsored by the central organization.

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Additional services implicit in the strategic plan include:       Increased training and educational opportunities for vendors, directors and managers Joint advertising and public relations initiatives ―How to‖ manuals and materials for market boards and management Trouble-shooting and consultations for markets in difficulty Planning assistance to markets using AIF funds Assistance with location and facility research and design

Again, these services would be available to all markets in the province with differential pricing for members and non-members. This pricing policy reflects the fact that members pay dues, but it should also act as an incentive for nonmembers to join the central organization. 3.3 Vision and Purpose of this plan BC farmers’ markets anticipate the execution of this plan will produce a provincial farmers’ market sector that is larger, more visible and more professionally run—one that contributes significantly to farm incomes and to the economy of communities in which it operates. BCAFM will be a major voice for those farmers’ markets—a self-sustaining organization that provides good value and a high level of service to members and others. The plan is submitted to the BC Agriculture Investment Foundation in anticipation of establishing an Agri-Food Futures Fund for farmers’ markets that will help us realize this vision. Specific goals, strategies, actions and their expected outcomes are described in subsequent sections. 4. THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS This strategic plan was drafted by a committee composed of the board of the BC Association of Farmers Markets, one former (and founding) director and its executive director (also a founding board member) with the assistance of Quercus Consulting and advice from staff at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. BCAFM’s board is broadly representative of the farmers’ market sector as a whole. The present board comprises nine directors from all regions of the province. All but one are primary producers. Wider consultation with the rest of the farmers’ market sector took the following forms:   Discussion of strategic issues at previous Annual Conferences Director and staff visits to both member and non-member markets during the growing season to solicit opinion on matters of interest or concern

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 

A needs and priorities assessment circulated to all markets with the 2006 conference registration package (See Section 4.3, below) A seminar and PowerPoint presentation on the plan at the 2006 Annual Conference that provided a final opportunity for response and suggestions from markets before making the submission to BCIAF.

The plan’s drafters therefore feel they have a good grasp of attitudes and opinion on the sector’s current challenges and future direction. 4.1 Preplanning Questionnaires In preparation for the planning committee sessions Quercus sent planning committee members a survey questionnaire intended to provide some advance information that would help use the meeting time more efficiently. The survey covered three main areas.    Current Strengths, Weaknesses, and Challenges Vision and Values Strategic Issues

The preplanning survey first asked respondents to assess how far they felt the sector had progressed on previously stated goals, and assess weaknesses and strengths of farmers’ markets and the sector as a whole. They were also asked to list the greatest challenges facing both individual markets and the sector as a whole. The second section of the pre-planning survey consisted of twelve "value statements" that suggested different perspectives on farmers’ markets and their possible future. The questionnaire asked participants to test their own views and values against the statements by indicating how strongly they agreed or disagreed with them. Some of these statements were intentionally contradictory; they were partly intended to identify areas of consensus and divergence about the basic purpose and identity of the markets and their provincial organization. In the language of IAF’s Planning Guide, this section began to answer the question ―Who are we?‖ Finally, respondents were asked to identify their personal priorities for the sector in the coming months and years. Responses to the survey helped us identify strategic issues and shape "Key Performance Areas" for the sector—i.e., those areas in which the group needed to set goals and objectives that would determine the sector’s future direction. The preplanning questionnaire is included here as Appendix A.

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4.2 Planning Committee Sessions The planning committee met in special session twice, for two days each time, to craft the plan. Agendas for these sessions are included as Appendix B. Using the pre-planning information as a basis for discussion the committee’s work at these sessions was to:  Identify the sector’s main strategic issues or what the plan calls ―Key Performance Areas‖ (KPAs)  Derive goals, strategies and actions for each KPA  Specify desired outcomes for each goal  Identify strategic partners that can assist or work with the sector to achieve its goals  Begin to estimate costs and possible funding sources for the desired activities. In order to stimulate creative thinking at the outset of this process the consultants asked participants to speculate on what the media would be saying about farmers markets if they were fulfilling their mission five years from now. The task for each of them was to write at least three "headlines" for news articles from 2010 describing events or accomplishments of either farmers’ markets or BCAFM by that time. The headlines exercise encouraged people to use the right side of their brains-to think creatively and without inhibition about the sector's future. While responses were often humorous or slightly fantastical, the headlines did help participants set goals later in the planning process--though they were not intended to strictly determine those goals. At the first break the consultants were able to use the results of the initial surveys and the headlines to identify what the sector’s Key Performance Areas might be. Participants initially agreed to use these suggestions as the basis for a first iteration of the plan. Goals were developed in small groups (one group for each KPA), then put to the whole board for approval. The criteria for accepting a goal were:  Is the goal consistent with the organization’s mission?  Is it consistent with other goals?  Is it achievable with available (not necessarily existing) resources?  Is it measurable?  Does it build local community? At the end of Session One, the committee had identified two or three goals for each of five key performance areas, or 14 goals in all.

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At the second session the committee was able to put its previous work in perspective and see that many of the stated goals were in fact strategies that contributed to other goals. This allowed members to eliminate some key performance areas, reduce the goals to a more achievable number, clarify needed strategies and actions and generally make the overall plan more manageable. The outcomes of this session dictated the contents of the plan presented here, subject to some re-tuning in response to suggestions from the sector. 4.3 Sector Response Prior to BCAFM’s 2006 annual conference market representatives received a survey questionnaire that they were asked to return at or before the conference. Questions were similar to those in the pre-planning survey, but in this case the lists of possible priorities were not hypothetical; they were those actually covered in the draft plan. As with the pre-planning survey, respondents were asked to rank topics and issues as first, second or third priority or not a priority at all. Following a presentation of the draft plan at the conference directors also held a question and answer session with delegates to discuss the contents. Most survey responses were returned after this question and answer session and therefore reflect delegate reactions to the directors’ presentation, though some responses were returned by mail from people who did not attend. Sixteen surveys were returned. This means, combined with the discussions of the planning committee itself, the plan now has had input from at least ¼ of the markets in the province—a significant sample. Generally, respondents’ priorities coincided with those of the planning committee, though there were some differences in emphasis and also some anomalies. For example, a significant number of respondents identified things like ―director and volunteer burnout,‖ ―continued good leadership,‖ ―board succession,‖ ―poor meetings,‖ and ―board-member communication‖ as weaknesses or challenges. Yet often, those very same respondents gave the need for director and management training a low priority.2 Respondents placed a somewhat higher priority on vendor education and training. This emphasis differs slightly from that of the planning committee, but may simply reflect an ―operations bias‖ in the people who attended the conference.

Consultant’s note: In our experience with other developing non-profit sectors, the need for training and education does not always translate into a demand for it. It is often up to the leadership to ―sell‖ its importance and establish programs that demonstrate its value. It takes time to establish a culture of learning. Training at all three levels is necessary, and we would not necessarily recommend downgrading the important place of management training and director education in this plan based on these survey responses.
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The topic that received the largest number of first priority responses was ―public information, promotion and outreach,‖ indicating that the planning committee was correct in identifying farmers’ markets’ visibility and public awareness as a key performance area for the sector. Advocacy and lobbying on behalf of the sector was also seen as important, but these are not activities the AFFF can support, and the sector will need to find other ways to fund them. However, the economic and food safety research, as well as the public information projects, envisioned by the plan could be as effective as direct advocacy in raising the sector’s profile, especially with local governments whose support is seen as key to markets’ long-term success. A notable number of respondents identified issues related to physical infrastructure or location as important challenges, expressed, for example, as ―no permanent location,‖ ―insecure tenure,‖ ―parking problems,‖ ―seasonal location,‖ etc. The plan foresees creating support services to assist markets with these issues, though not until later in its five-year term. As part of the annual review process, the committee may want to examine whether it is feasible to create the capacity to provide this assistance sooner. Finally, most respondents saw growth and expansion of their own market and markets generally as a high priority. But one respondent cautioned: ―[The sector] should focus on ―quality control,‖ not the proliferation of non-viable markets.‖ In summary, these responses reflect broad agreement with the plan’s goals and key performance areas, but the fund’s oversight committee will want to take specific needs and priorities into account when reviewing individual project proposals and drafting annual work plans and budgets. 5. The Situational Analysis—Where Are We Now? This section of the plan reviews and examines those strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats or challenges that were mentioned most frequently or elicited the most discussion during the planning process. A complete list is provided in Appendix C. 5.1 Strengths The most clearly identified strength of farmers markets, and their greatest appeal, lies in their ability to bring fresh, high quality food directly to the consumer. In the process markets are able to foster relationships both among producers and between producers and consumers. Through those relationships they build a sense of community as well. That community-building process is both a social and an economic one. It has meant that most markets now rest on a base of consumer loyalty and public support that is another of their key strengths.

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For agriculture as a whole, markets act as important promoters of local and regional farm and food products. For consumers, the growers and producers who sell those products at farmers’ markets are ―the face of agriculture‖ in BC. As the voice for farmers’ markets in the province, and a conduit for communication between them, BCAFM is seen as a way to gain more respect and credibility for the sector with both governments and the public. Thus, a strong central organization also means stronger individual markets. 5.2 Weaknesses In the pre-planning questionnaire that was sent to planning committee members the following ―value statement‖ received broad agreement from respondents: We need to look at markets not as “events,” but more as permanent businesses that contribute to the development of their communities. Yet several of the sector’s identified weaknesses speak to the periodic or impermanent character of most markets. For example: ―Lack of continuity. . .‖ ―No consistent direction. . .‖ ―No infrastructure or permanent locations. . .‖ ―Only a seasonal draw. . .‖ While some successful markets have achieved the status of community institutions, low visibility and poor advertising, coupled with a lack of the financial resources required to grow, have meant markets generally have a lower profile than they deserve. Fragmentation and inter-market competition were also seen as weaknesses in some areas of the province. Although BCAFM, just by existing, has begun to bring markets together to form a cohesive sector, the extent to which it can actively provide support for sector development is also hampered by a lack of resources. 5.3 Opportunities The list of opportunities identified in the situational analysis is fairly short. Most of the sector’s opportunities are inherent in the goals the plan has set, including growth in sales, visibility, competence and overall membership. For BCAFM specifically, every non-member market is seen as a recruiting opportunity. Participants in the planning process saw a particular opportunity in appealing to new and younger family farmers and providing incentives for them to sell through markets. Like other agricultural sectors, though, they recognize the number of new entrants to farming, and therefore the number of potential vendors, is too low. By increasing farm incomes through direct sales, however, the sector has an opportunity to help make more family farms viable. Relations with local governments appeared on both the Opportunity and Threat sides of the ledger. But while the threat was quite specific (see below), the opportunities for co-operation and partnerships with local authorities were many and varied.

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5.4 Threats or Challenges Not all challenges are necessarily threats, though forestalling any threats will be a challenge. Finding the money and staff resources (both paid and volunteer) needed for the next stages of growth and development was seen as the key challenge for farmers’ markets generally and for their provincial organization. This plan, and the funding it can generate from the BCIAF, is one response to that challenge, but building the internal capacity that will move the sector toward selfsufficiency only begins with that funding. For BCAFM the challenge will be to develop the organization in a way that best serves farmers’ markets—to continue to recognize that its own interests are inseparable from those of its current and potential members. Under the heading of ―Challenges,‖ ―increasingly overzealous regulation‖--and specifically ―health regulation‖--was the only challenges that participants identified as actual threats to markets’ survival. While markets recognize the need to protect public health and safety, they often feel enforcement is inappropriate, that it can be capricious and that it is inconsistent between jurisdictions. This plan takes a co-operative approach to resolving these issues by researching what other jurisdictions have done and developing a set of model health standards for farmers’ markets that they hope will be acceptable across the province. At the same time the plan vigorously promotes food-safe courses for all market vendors and envisions providing training in the new standards once they are developed and approved. 5.5 Potential Partners As a first step in identifying partners who could assist or co-operate in the implementation of this plan, the committee brainstormed a fairly complete list of organizations and institutions with potentially similar values. This list is included as Appendix D. Later in the planning process they focused on selected strategic partners they might use to help them carry out specific activities. These potential partners are noted in the summary Tables that comprise Section 7.2

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6. Key Performance Areas and Their Goals The planners have set goals for the farmers’ market sector that are ambitious but achievable. They are grouped under three main headings or Key Performance Areas: 1. Education and Training 2. Farmers’ Market Visibility 3. Sector Research and Development The goals, their expected outcomes and main strategies for each key performance area summarized in this section. Further implementation activities, cost factors, sources of matching funds and potential partners are detailed in table form in Section 7.2. 6.1 Education and Training GOAL: Increase the management skills and capacity of market managers, vendors and boards. This goal addresses some of the identified weaknesses of the farmers’ market sector while building on its main strengths. It speaks to the sector’s growing self-awareness as an important contributor to local economies and the need for markets to function as business institutions rather than periodic events. OUTCOMES: Progress toward attaining this goal should result in    an improved and more professional public image for markets more effectively managed markets and individual vendor stalls better continuity and fewer disruptions at both the governance and management level in market organizations.

MAIN STRATEGIES: Implementation strategies for this goal include continuous improvements in the range and quality of workshops at the annual conference as well as developing a program of stand-alone training courses, self-study materials and manuals for vendors, directors and managers. The planning committee also saw opportunities to use external training resources available through other agricultural organizations. These are detailed in Section 7.2. 6.2 Farmers’ Market Visibility GOAL: Increase public awareness of farmers’ markets. OUTCOMES: It is expected that work on this goal will create greater media attention to farmers’ markets, increased public understanding of markets and their benefits, more customers at farmers markets and greater appreciation of product quality and local foods.

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MAIN STRATEGIES: The planning committee felt ―branding‖ farmers’ markets with an identifiable logo, used province-wide, should be an immediate priority. Subsequently, public awareness programs will include a rack card and brochures placed at all tourist booths in the province, an ―infomercial‖ that can be used on local cable stations and as a tool for bringing markets to new communities, and continuous improvements to the public sections of the BCAFM and individual market websites. The sector will actively cultivate media contacts and develop a consistent message about the community-building aspects of farmers’ markets and their contribution to local economies. Finally, building on the experience of Vancouver markets, the sector intends to extend the use of ―market dollars‖ for produce purchases by families in the Healthiest Babies Possible program. It will work with local and regional health authorities to that end. 6.3 Sector Research and Development As sector development is the main thrust of this entire plan, there are three separate goals in this KPA. 6.3.1 GOAL ONE: Increase the number of farmers’ markets operating in the province and the number of communities that host them. OUTCOMES: The main long-term outcome of this goal will be more markets in more communities. The sector will have the capacity to respond to communities who want assistance with market start-ups, and it will have quality research and information that can be used as a basis for new market development. MAIN STRATEGIES: The sector will first sponsor a research and information program targeted on local governments and their economic development officers. Preliminary contacts have already been made with a researcher at the University of Northern BC who has an interest in carrying out an assessment of farmers’ markets’ economic impact on their communities. It will be important to initiate this research during the 2006 market season, as the resulting report will be needed to support the development strategies in subsequent years of the plan. The research report, together with audiovisual materials (see Section 6.2), ―How To‖ manuals and other resources will be some of the tools the sector can use to create the capacity to respond to requests for development assistance.

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6.3.2 GOAL TWO: Give farmers’ markets increasing access to services and tools that will help them develop, grow and prosper. OUTCOMES: Where Goal One focuses on building the capacity to develop new markets, this goal focuses more on strengthening existing ones. Strong markets will have greater consumer appeal and will also attract more vendors. That, in turn, will make markets more sustainable as reliable and secure local food sources. Other outcomes for this goal will be similar to, and compatible with, the outcomes in the Education and Training performance area (See Section 6.1). MAIN STRATEGIES: In order to nurture their identity as a single sector, rather than a disparate collection of individual entities, farmers’ markets need a central hub that will  enhance communication and information flow between markets and their vendors  provide benefits and services that individual markets cannot effectively provide for themselves. An AFFF for farmers’ markets will itself serve part of this function. The availability of funds will need to be publicized throughout the sector. An administrative structure and an application process for those funds will need to be established. Some strategies under this goal address those needs. Other strategies deal with providing some of the tools and services that can be created with those funds to make for a more sustainable farmers’ market sector. In both these areas—communication and service delivery—BCAFM should play a key role. For farmers’ markets, as in other non-profit sectors, the centralized provision of training, development services, communication and external relations is a provincial organization’s raison-d’ếtre. The respective roles of BCAFM and individual markets in the use and disbursement of AFF funds is discussed further in Section 7.1.

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6.3.3 GOAL THREE: Achieve workable and effective food safety policies and regulations for farmers’ markets. OUTCOMES: The single expected outcome from the achievement of this goal is consistent enforcement of province-wide health standards with regard to farmers’ markets. MAIN STRATEGIES: This goal addresses a ―threat‖ to farmers’ markets that was frequently identified in surveys and discussions with the planning committee and other stakeholders. Although the full realization of the goal will require communication and co-operation with provincial and local health authorities, it is understood that the funded portion of the project must be undertaken independent of any government relations work. The sector will establish its own task force to develop model food safety and health standards, based on research into regulations in other jurisdictions. It will create a Best Practices Code for markets that can be incorporated into its training programs and published on the BCAFM website. It will then formalize that code into a set of standards to present to government in hopes of having them accepted province-wide. 7. Implementing The Plan 7.1 Administration and Disbursement of Funds BCAFM has taken a leadership role in establishing an AFFF for farmers’ markets, but it also hopes to benefit from the fund. Therefore, while it can expect to be well-represented on the Fund’s board, BCAFM directors will not constitute the entire board. The actual composition of the Fund’s board remains to be negotiated with BCIAF if the sector’s application to establish the Fund is successful. The planning committee also spent considerable time discussing BCAFM’s potential role in carrying out the plan. This is a plan for the farmers’ market sector as a whole, and its outcomes are intended to serve that sector, not just the central organization. The committee understands the Fund is not intended to provide core funding for BCAFM. Yet, as noted above (Section 6.3.2), the reason such central organizations usually exist is precisely to undertake some of the kinds of projects and activities the plan envisions—because they can do so more efficiently and cost-effectively.

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In determining how money would be disbursed the committee had to come to grips with the fact that AFFF funding is project-based. It questioned how many of those projects would or should be ―centrally driven‖ and how many would come from individual markets. For example, it would not be efficient or economically feasible for every market to try to develop its own training program. However, that does not preclude a single market from developing some of its own best practices into a short course that could be taught for the benefit of the entire sector. Indeed, the extent to which locally initiated projects create such ―transferable templates‖ could be one of the main bases on which they are selected for funding. The question of how centralized or de-centralized projects should be may only get resolved in practice. But as one committee member aptly put it, ―On some projects individual markets will be the driver, on others they will be invited along as riders.‖ 7.2 Summary Tables Where Section 6 gave a general overview of the plan’s most important elements, the following tables provide a more literal and detailed transcription of strategies devised by the planning committee, as well as some of the actions that will be required to carry out the strategies. The Key Performance Area, goal, expected outcomes and selected performance measures are shown at the top of each table. The strategies in Column One are divided by years, and for each strategy bulleted in Column One there are usually some corresponding actions in Column Two. These actions generally become more sparse for the later years of the plan, as they will be fleshed out in the annual work plans and budgets that are submitted to BCIAF. For the same reason specific costs are not attached to the actions in these tables, but factors that will need to be costed in the annual budgets are identified. However, the global budget in Section 8 does provide projected annual expenditures for each Key Performance Area and its major strategies. In the final column ―Possible Resources‖ include both potential sources of matching funds (marked $) and potential strategic partners (marked >).

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TABLE ONE
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA: Education and Training GOAL: Increase the management skills and capacity of market managers, vendors and boards.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: Improved public image for markets; better continuity, fewer internal disruptions at markets. SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES: Number of new courses developed; Participant course evaluations; Number of course and conference registrants; ―Transfer level‖ evaluations (i.e. practical application of learning); Manuals sold
STRATEGIES RELATED ACTIONS COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner

CURRENT YEAR:  Promote availability of food-safe courses at reduced rates to BCAFM members

 Continue offering workshops at conference YEAR ONE:  Broaden appeal of conference by offering a wider range of better workshops and events and partner with the BC Agritourism Alliance to deliver 2007 conference in Sidney BC.

Publicize to ensure all markets are aware of availability Negotiate standard rate for all regions Design conference program & schedule Contract with instructors Evaluate courses Have more ―Show and tell‖ sessions from actual markets and their vendors—use films, videos, slide shows.

Staff Time

Instructor fees Travel costs Speakers‘ Fees Media materials Conference materials, mailouts, promotion Facility rentals Consulting contract Materials & supplies Printing & production costs [None for investigation]

$ - Course & conference fees $ - Western Economic Diversification (WED) $ - Conference and workshop fees $ - Corporate sponsors, ads $ - Trade show fees $ - WED > - CFBMC $ - Auction, Donations $ - Manual sales

 Produce a management manual for market managers and a board/policy manual for market boards

Gather sources--manuals from markets, materials from other sectors, etc. Contract work or get volunteer Investigate use of ―webinars‖ for training in partnership with Canada Farm Business Management Council

> - CFBMC as strategic partner

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COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner $ - fees paid by attendees > CFMBC

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS

 Assess availability of appropriate and accessible on-line training Encourage attendance at the N.A. Farm Direct Marketing Conference in Calgary, Alberta to BC Markets (Feb 12-18, 2007) YEAR TWO:  Establish an education and training program that offers courses and workshops for both directors and managers of farmers‘ markets  Establish a training and support program for vendors that will enhance their experience of selling at farmers‘ markets.  (Continue conference improvements)

E.D. to attend planning sessions and get information to members

Travel, registration and accommodation costs

Develop new or adapt existing course content and training materials ―Field test‖ materials at conference Hold ―stand-alone‖ educational events other than the conference (possibly regionally). Continue holding conference in conjunction with another agriculture conference Apply for assistance with speaker fees

Adaptation and development of specialized training materials Instructor training Instructor fees Travel & expenses

$ - Workshop fees >CFMBC

Speakers‘ fees $ CFMBC $ - Corporate sponsorships $ - Foundation funding

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COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner $ - Course fees

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS

YEARS 3 – 5:  Continue to develop expand and improve education and training opportunities for market participants at all levels

Expand number of course offerings: Develop new or adapt existing materials as in Year 2. Offer ―customized‖ workshops in response to requests from individual FM societies in their own communities. Incorporate training in new FM food safety standards into vendor workshops and written materials (4)

Adaptation and development of specialized training materials Instructor training Instructor fees Travel & expenses

 Expand amount and type of information available to vendors and managers on website e,g. Best Practices Guide, availability of courses, etc .

$ - Sale of materials

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TABLE TWO
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA: Farmers Markets’ Visibility GOAL: Increase public awareness of farmers’ markets. EXPPECTED OUTCOMES: Greater media attention to farmers‘ markets; increased public understanding of markets and their benefits; increased number of customers at farmers market; greater appreciation of product quality and local foods. SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES: Number of media stories on/references to farmers‘ markets; Increase in sales and customer counts at markets province-wide; customer survey results STRATEGIES RELATED ACTIONS COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES
$ - Matching Funds/Contribution > - Strategic Partner

CURRENT YEAR:  Produce good professionally designed farmers‘ market logo and use it in all publicity and communications YEAR ONE:  Develop a consistent media message about the community-building aspects of farmers‘ markets and their contribution to local economies  Develop and distribute to tourist booths a rack card listing all known markets, times and locations.  Ensure farmers markets are in municipal publications listing local services.  Offer ―Market Dollars‖ for families in Healthiest Babies program to purchase market produce.

Check resources

Graphic design

$/> - Advanced graphic design students as source of labour OR barter w/ sympathetic professional

Write letters to the editor on issues of interest Use ―homemade, home grown, home-baked‖ slogan to build awareness Cultivate relationships with ag. press and ag. beat reporters Distribute PDF file to selected markets for local printings Piggy-back on BCATA distributions Create contact list and mail information to contacts OR work through local markets Work with local health authorities to establish and publicize program Establish ‗ways and means‘ for families to use program

Staff time

Graphic design Printing Distribution Staff or volunteer time Mailing costs

> - BCATA > - Tourism BC ($?) > - Local chambers of commerce

> - Build on Vancouver experience $ - Health Ministry‘s ―prevention budget‖ >/$ - Local health authorities

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COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching Funds/Contribution > - Strategic Partner

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS

YEAR TWO:  Become a recognized source of comment and media stories on agricultural issues.

 Extend distribution of rack card program to more locations; produce larger pamphlets

Issue regular media releases Invite media to conferences Phone reporters with interesting story ideas Ensure we are on major media contact lists Post all news releases on special section of website Possibly expand rack card to full pamphlet with map, seasonal produce availability, etc. Check resources – Look at examples from Comox & Whistler & Cedar

Staff & volunteer time

Web design/maintenance Staff time Layout and printing Distribution/mailing

Video camera

 Produce an ‗infomercial‘ on farmers markets to use in sector development and run on local cable stations.

 Create more informative and user-friendly website.

Make website more interactive and provide good links Advise markets on opportunities to set up own sites Partner, link with DFMA

Professional web design

$ -Dues revenue $ - Advertising on website $/> - Corporate sponsor (See Ontario/Home Hardware example) $ - Advertising > - Other sectors (e.g. Direct Farm Marketing) > BCIT or other media production programs for student projects $ ―Act Now‖ Program funding $ - Corporate donation or price break (camera) $ - Raffle proceeds > - Direct Farm Marketing Association

YEARS 3 – 5:  Year 2 strategies and actions are ongoing

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TABLE THREE
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA: Sector Research & Development GOAL ONE: Increase the number of farmers’ markets operating in the province and the number of communities that host them.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: More markets in more communities. Other outcomes compatible with ―Sector Visibility‖ goal. SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES: Year over year increases in markets and market locations.
STRATEGIES RELATED ACTIONS COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner

CURRENT YEAR: YEAR ONE:  Make initial contacts with officials in communities interested in establishing markets Presentation/information booth at UBCM conference Create an information package for delegates Introductory letter to economic development officers Create contact list Meet with researcher Agree on project design and methodology Workshop session at AGM to explain project Conduct research during market season Follow-up contacts with economic development officers Promote research report/solicit interest Distribute report Phone follow-up with EDOs expressing interest Printing and postage $ - Volunteers‘ time

 Design and conduct a research project to gather data on positive impacts of FMs on local economies

Research costs Computer hardware and software

> - Dave Connell—UNBC Prof. $ - Other research grants; in-kind support from UNBC $ - BC Rail fund? $ - Gaming funds for computer? $ - Volunteer s‘ time contribution

YEAR TWO:  Identify target areas for outreach to start new markets and make contact  Produce major report from year one research project detailing the economic impact that farmers‘ markets have at the local and Provincial level.

Staff and volunteer time

Printing and distribution

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COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner >/$ - Local government sponsor > - Local chambers of commerce $ - Corporate donation or price breaks on a/v

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS

YEARS 3 – 5:  Hold farmers‘ market seminars for communities or regions interested in start-up or markets with start-up difficulties. Use Economic Impact study results to demonstrate the importance of markets to local urban and rural economies.

Set up seminars/public information meetings with community EDOs or other appropriate staff. Make prior contact with local media—press releases, talkshow appearances

Travel costs Presentation materials A/V rental or purchase Presenter fees or contract

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TABLE FOUR
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA: Sector Development GOAL TWO: Give farmers’ markets increasing access to services and tools that will help them develop, grow, and prosper. EXPECTED OUTCOMES: More producers involved with farmers‘ markets. Greater Consumer Appeal. Enhanced communication and information between markets and vendors. More viable markets. More reliable and secure local food sources. SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES: As for Goal #1. Plus: Greater market sales/ vendor. Decrease in number of market failures. Number of local markets taking part in provincial programs; Number of projects successfully using AFFF. STRATEGIES RELATED ACTIONS COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES
$ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner

CURRENT YEAR:  Create list of services currently available through BCAFM for the information of members and prospective members  Establish administrative structure and procedures for funding projects

Distribute list of services in AGM conference package and by other means including web site. Meet with IAF staff to establish requirements, makeup of board, etc. Call for nominations to AFF Farmers Market Board Set project selection criteria Year-one detailed work plan Publish regular newsletter and distribute to all markets Increase information on website and make site interactive; provide links to strategic partners‘ and others‘ sites. Distribute electronic version of newsletter via e-mail Plenary presentation and workshop at Annual Conf. Mail out to all markets

Printing

$ - Conference fees $ - WED Conference grant $ - CFMBC

Fund board members‘ travel time

YEAR ONE:  Create a communication hub for farmers‘ markets in the province

Materials, printing, distribution, frequency (quarterly; monthly in market season?) Staff time

$ - In-kind contribution of staff or volunteer time

 Publicize the availability of AFF funds throughout the sector and inform all markets how to access them

$ - Consultant‘s travel cost contributed $ - Conference fees

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$ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS



YEAR TWO:  Increase communication directly with vendors

Publish regular sector newsletter through BCAFM, and distribute to all market vendors Increase vendor information on website and make site interactive; provide links to markets, strategic partners, and others‘ sites Investigate the cost of an interactive forum for all members on the BCAFM website. Distribute electronic version of newsletter via e-mail

Printing and postage

Volunteers‘ time Executive director of BCAFM time

Web design/webmaster

 Create capacity to order merchandise online

Encourage ―vendor of the week‖ programs in all member markets and selected vendors in newsletter. Work with CFMBC to deliver webinars for farmers markets vendors.

$ - CFMBC

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$ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner

STRATEGIES

RELATED ACTIONS

YEARS 3 – 5:  Increase scope of services and benefits consistent with other areas of the strategic plan and available resources (Years 3 – 5)

 Produce document for markets to use on how local government can support farmers‘ markets (Year 4).

Printing and distribution

$ - UBCM

 Co-operate with local government in getting power and other infrastructure to market sites (Year 5)  Provide markets advice and assistance with site and facility development (Year 5+) [$ - Consulting fees] $ - local governments

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TABLE FIVE
KEY PERFORMANCE AREA: Sector Research & Development GOAL THREE: Achieve workable and effective food safety policies and regulations for farmers‘ markets.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES: Consistent enforcement of province-wide standards; less friction with local inspectors & vendor discontent SELECTED PERFORMANCE MEASURES: Reduction in number of infractions or complaints; demand for publication(s) STRATEGIES RELATED ACTIONS COST FACTORS POSSIBLE RESOURCES $ - Matching funds/contribution > - Strategic Partner > BC Center for Disease Control and BC Ministry Of Health, BCMAL > - Well-established markets in BC that have good working relationships with Environmental Health Officers. $ - Foundations (Ford) $ - Investigate sources of federal funding outside IAF (On-Farm Food Safety plans comparable to other agricultural. sectors) Consultant‘s time and expenses Publication costs Training materials development Instructor training  Incorporate training in new standards into vendor workshops (4) Incorporate new material into foodsafe and other courses $ - Foundations, and government agencies as above - Other province‘s farmers‘ market sectors

CURRENT YEAR: YEAR ONE:  Establish and staff a sector task force to develop model food safety and health standards for farmers‘ markets in BC.

Research and apply to appropriate foundations and BC Government for matching grants Research standards in other jurisdictions Gather information and experience of BC Markets Discuss and interpret data Establish food safety ―best practices‖ for BC markets Formalize practices as standards Draft model policies and regulations

Consultant‘s time and expenses Oversight committee travel and communication Office supplies Printing and distribution costs

YEAR TWO:  (Work of task force continues) YEARS 3 – 5:  Review draft model with relevant government officials and incorporate comments (3)  Publish standards for use by all FMs and Environmental Health Officers.

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8. Budget To finance the plan the sector is applying to establish an Agri-Food Futures Fund for the benefit of farmers’ markets, to be matched equally with revenue and in-kind contributions generated by the sector. This equal cost-sharing will be achieved over the life of the plan, though some aspects of it may require a greater percentage contribution from the Fund in earlier years. This is reflected in the annual and total contribution percentages below. The total budget amount for the 5-year life of the plan is $468,000. Following is a global budget that shows the total and annual expected AFF and matching contributions to each goal area and major strategic initiatives. Specific line-item budgets will be submitted with annual work plans.

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9. Conclusion Farmers’ markets are becoming a major player in the agricultural landscape of British Columbia. They are a significant source of income for vendors who sell through them and thereby bring some stability to the perennially risky business of farming. Because market vendors are the ―face of agriculture‖ for urban consumers in BC, growth, professionalism and greater cohesion in the farmers’ market sector is good for agriculture as a whole. By creating a direct link between urban consumers and the people who grow their food farmers’ markets help raise public awareness of food issues. By providing those consumers with fresh and wholesome produce they contribute to population health. And by cementing consumer loyalty to known producers markets have a key role to play in ensuring local food security. For all these reasons farmers’ markets and their organizations warrant the support a dedicated Agri-Food Futures Fund can provide.

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APPENDIX A
BC FARMERS‘ MARKETS PRE-PLANNING QUESTIONNAIRE I. CURRENT SITUATION This first section of the questionnaire asks your opinion about the current state of BCAFM and the farmers’ market sector generally: its strengths and weaknesses and its progress toward its previously stated goals. 1. In 2001 BCAFM adopted a work plan that included some of the following goals. A copy of that plan is attached, and you can refer to it to assist you in answering this question: On a scale of 1 – 5, please tell us how far you think the sector has progressed toward achieving these goals—where 1 means ―No Progress‖ and 5 means ―Completely Achieved.‖ No progress Completely Achieved a. Facilitate networking of farmers markets b. Increase the number of successful farmers markets c. Provide various forms of information to markets d. Foster consistent regulatory policies e. Improve public awareness of farmers‘ markets f. Develop [BCAFM as] a sustainable organization 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5

2. Thinking about farmers‘ markets generally, tell us what you think are: a. their two biggest strengths __________________________________ __________________________________ b. two major weaknesses __________________________________ __________________________________ ___________________________________

c. the biggest challenge they face

3. Now thinking specifically about BCAFM as an organization, tell us what you think are: a. its two biggest strengths ___________________________________ ___________________________________ b. two main weaknesses ___________________________________ ___________________________________ c the biggest challenge it faces ___________________________________

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PAGE 2

BCAFM PRE-PLANNING QUESTIONNAIRE II. VISION AND VALUES

This section asks you about your personal values and perceptions of farmers’ markets and of BCAFM as an organization. Some of the statements will ask you to reaffirm or re-examine values and principles from the 2001 Work Plan. Some of the statements contradict each other. It is possible to agree to some extent with two contradictory statements. The purposes of this section are: - to show us where there are broad areas of agreement or disagreement about basic characteristics of your Association - to begin to suggest key areas where the Association needs or wants to set goals. For each statement please indicate whether you Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), are Neutral (N) Disagree (D) or Strongly Disagree (SD). 1. The direct contact between producers and consumers that markets provide is one of their main attractions and a primary reason for their success. 2. This direct contact creates a sense of community at markets that can only be maintained if markets stay fairly small and local. 3. Farmers markets exist primarily for the benefit of vendors, and they are the only ones who should sit on the boards of our markets and our provincial organization. 4. Markets have a variety of stakeholders, including consumers, and we should try to include stakeholders other than vendors on the boards of our markets and our provincial organization. 5. A primary purpose of BCAFM is to promote and foster the creation of more farmers‘ markets in the province. 6. The recent rapid growth of markets throughout the province means it‘s now time to concentrate on making the markets we already have more stable and effective. 7. The definition of a farmers‘ market approved at our 2003 AGM is still the standard by which we should measure whether a market can become a BCAFM member. 8. Each community should come to its own definition of what a farmers‘ market is, and membership in BCAFM should be open to all. 9. Government has a role in planning the farmers‘ market sector in the province and should be directly involved in how it develops. 10. Farmers markets and BCAFM are independent organizations, not a part of government; government‘s role should be limited to monitoring how we use any funding they may provide. 11. BCAFM has a non-partisan ―political‖ role to play in advocating for farmers and for legislative and policy initiatives that encourage and support family farms.

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

SA A

N

D

SD

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PAGE 3

BCAFM PRE-PLANNING QUESTIONNAIRE 12. We need to look at markets not as ―events,‖ but more as permanent businesses that contribute to the development of their communities. III. YOUR PRIORITIES

SA A

N

D

SD

By setting goals and planning the strategies that will achieve them an organization establishes its priorities for the coming years. At the planning session directors will bring their personal priorities, thoughts and ideas to the table and, through discussion, come to consensus on priorities for the group. This section of the questionnaire gives you a chance to start thinking about what you want BCAFM and its member markets to achieve in the next 3-5 years In the following list you can rank a topic as a first (1), second (2) or third (3) priority. If an item is not a priority for you at all, circle “N.” You can also add other priorities to the list if you wish, and rank them. Highest priority Education and training for directors of markets and BCAFM Education and training for market staff and volunteers Expansion and growth of the farmers‘ market sector Fostering improved and efficient market management Better communication and information sharing among markets Public education and outreach Advocacy and lobbying in support of farmers and agriculture Making BCAFM more self-sufficient Improving the level services BCAFM can offer members Others: __________________________________________ __________________________________________ ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 Lowest N N N N N N N N N N N

THANK YOU. Please return this questionnaire to Quercus Consulting, not the BCAFM office, before October 28. By Mail: RR2; S-46 C-22 Galiano Island, BC V0N 1P0 By Fax: (250) 539-5677 By e-mail: quercus@gulfislandswireless.com


								
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