Cedar Farmers Market Boosts Local Economy by $3.7 Million Annually, Study Finds ​

July 20, 2023

Cedar Farmers Market Boosts Local Economy by $3.7 Million Annually, Study Finds

Nanaimo, BC – (July 19, 2023) – Cedar Farmers Market is a significant economic player in the Nanaimo Regional District, injecting nearly $3.7 million annually into the local economy, according to preliminary results from a recent study. 

“Although people know the market is a great place to buy fresh, local food,” said Kate Poirier, the farmers market executive director, “the results of this study help us to communicate to others how valuable the farmers’ market is to our community.” 

About 59,291 people visit the farmers’ market annually and on the day of the study, June 25, 2023, about 2,646 people visited the market. About 397 of these visitors participated in the survey. Almost 40 percent of shoppers visit the market either ‘regularly’ (almost weekly) or ‘frequently’ (2-3 times per month).

The Cedar Farmers Market is participating in a province-wide study of the economic benefits of farmers markets. “Farmers’ markets continue to serve as the face of farming in BC,” said Heather O’Hara, Executive Director of the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets. “There has been significant growth in the number and vitality of farmers’ markets in BC and it is important to understand not only what they contribute but also how much they contribute to local neighbourhoods, cities, and towns,” she explained.

Dr. David Connell, a professor from the University of Northern BC who is leading the project, added, “This project builds upon the results of a similar study we did in 2006 and in 2012. At the end of this project, we will be able to compare our results with these past studies to see how much has changed.”

In the tranquil setting of Woodbank School, just south of Nanaimo, families gather to relish the abundance of Vancouver Island at the Cedar Farmers Market. What began as a humble roadside venture over 25 years ago has blossomed into a thriving market with 100 stalls, earning recognition as one of the Island’s most beloved markets. The market was honoured with multiple accolades in 2022, including Nanaimo’s Best Farmers Market as well as a first-place award among large farmers’ markets in British Columbia. Visitors are treated to a diverse array of local vendors offering everything from fresh produce and baked goods to hot food, refreshing treats, and artisan crafts.

The project is carried out by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets in collaboration with Dr. David Connell, a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia. Financial assistance was provided by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets and the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food.


Kate Poirier, Executive Director, Cedar Farmers Market Agricultural Society, 250-668-9907 or kate@cedarfarmersmarket.org

Heather O’Hara, Executive Director, BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, 604-734-9797 or info@bcfarmersmarket.org

David Connell, Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management, UNBC, 250-960-5835 or david.connell@unbc.ca

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