The Birth of a Farmers’ Market

In October 2007, Host Jon Steinman paid a visit to the community of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. With a population of 80,000, it came as a surprise to discover that the city does not maintain a functioning farmers’ market where food is the focus. Recognizing how the absence of one threatened the already vulnerable state of Vancouver Island agriculture, the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op organized a one-day Farmers’ Showcase. The event acted as a trial farmers’ market to determine the feasibility of such an event on a weekly basis.

With over 3,000 people swarming upon the farmers and producers, the success of the market was a clear sign of the healthy potential for an increase in local food production on Vancouver Island.


Dirk BeckerFarmer/ActivistCompassion Farms (Lantzville, BC) – Dirk farms organically on 2.5 acres. He uses farming as a means to inspire others to reconnect with the land of which we are a part. Dirk is a member of the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op. He hosts a weekly radio program on CHLY Nanaimo – Heart and Mind, Tuesday, 1-2pm.

Arata TanakaBakerFlour, Water, Salt Breads (Mill Bay, BC) – In 2006, Arata was permitted to build a wood-fired brick oven on the property of Merridale Estate Cidery. He sells his bread at Vancouver Island markets.

Betty BensonFarmerCedar Valley Poultry (Nanaimo, BC) – The Benson family has been supporting agriculture in the Nanaimo area since 1948. Betty now raises organic Chickens and Turkeys and recently launched an adopt-a-turkey program.

Bob HandelFarmerHappy Beef (Nanaimo, BC) – Maintaining a small herd of cattle, according to their customers, Bob and Gerry Handel sell some of the finest tasting beef on Vancouver Island.

Maureen DrewPartnerArtisan Edibles Fine Food Company (Parksville, BC) – Artisan Edibles condiments and preserves blend the best flavours of Vancouver Island and the world. Their mission is to develop flavourful condiments using Vancouver Island’s natural bounty.

Stan ReistCo-OwnerFlying Dutchman (Nanaimo, BC) – Supplies bees, bee-keeping supplies and honey sales from the Mountains and Valleys of Vancouver Island.

Craig EvansLandscape & Garden CoordinatorProvidence Farm (Duncan, BC) – A working organic farm dedicated to restoring the spirit and skills of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

Sharon VansickleSharon’s Kitchen Crafts (Nanaimo, BC) – Sharon produces a wide-range of condiments and preserves and offers canning workshops to area-residents.

Lorelai AndrewFood Sustainability Sub-CommitteeMid-Island Co-op (Nanaimo, BC)

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)