After listening to Occupy Nanaimo participants in late 2011 Gordon Fuller commented that a surprisingly large number of them wanted to farm. That comment brought about an interesting question: How do you earn a living from farming if there is no market for your product? The search for the answer resulted in a series of community meetings that lead to the registration of the Island Roots Market Co-operative on July 17, 2012.
Following its registration the Co-operative undertook an extensive search for a place to locate a year round market. Finding none, it decided to open a winter market to complement the existing outdoor summer markets and build a base for a year round market. The search for a location continued after October 2014 when the first winter market opened at the Pleasant Valley Hall.
Why Beban Park
At the same time the Regional district of Nanaimo was developing its Agricultural Area Plan. ‘Growing Our Future Together’ identified development of a year-round farmer's market as a priority action towards strengthening the local agriculture and aquaculture economy. It suggested Beban Park, at the geographical centre of Nanaimo, as a possible location for the recommended market. Meanwhile, the Beban Park Master Plan was being updated. It recognizes the agricultural history of the Park, suggests the development of a year round indoor farmers market at the park and call for community partners to take part in the development of the park's core facilities.
In November of 2015 Island roots presented its ideas for a year round farmers market to the Parks and Recreation Commission. The idea received the support of the commission and Island roots entered discussions with other groups that want to be part of the Park's development to determine where each might locate.
The following is a list of steps taken and planned.
* Completed project preparations
Targets - missed or yet to come
Nov 2017 - Development Permit Approval
Feb 2018 - Final drawings approved
Feb 2018 - Project begins (for ICET purposes)
Feb 2018 - Tenders Complete
Mar 2018 - Build Permit
Mar 2018 - End Fundraising
Apr 2018 - Construction
Sept 2018 - Occupancy
Oct 2018 - Soft Opening
Dec 2018 - Grand Opening