A Year Round Farmers' Market - Go on ShawTV

Progress Report

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

  • *July  2012 - Island Roots Market Co-operative registered with BC government
  • *July 2012 to Oct 2015 Search for year round market location conducted
  • *Oct 2014 - Winter Market opened at Pleasant Valley Hall
  • *Nov 2015 - Nanaimo Parks and Recreation Commission Approval (P&RC) - Presentation
  • *Jan 2016 - IRMC and Bowen Road Farmers Market Society begin to work together
  • * Feb 2016 - July 2016 Groups wanting space at Beban discuss locations (see map above for result)
  • *Aug 2016 - Public input - City of Nanaimo
  • *Oct  2016 - Approved in Principle - City of Nanaimo
  • *Jan  2017 - $25,000 RDN grant approved for Feasibility Study. Presentation to RDN
  • *Feb  2017 - Architect contracted to prepare drawings and oversee development
  • *Apr  2017 - Amend Memorandum and Rules of IRMC making it non profit.
  • Apr  2017 -  Sign lease for land at Beban Park (delayed)
  • *Apr  2017 -  Quantity Survey report (delayed) Interim Report received
  • May  2017 - Begin fundraising (delayed)
  • *May 2017 - City Council asked staff to look into issuing tax receipts for project donations - staff says "no"
  • *May 2017 - IRMC presents Council with the Market Concept - fleshed out over the years since the presentation to the P&RC
  • *June 2017 - IRMC meets City Staff who say "no" to almost everything but agree to provide their vision in 2 weeks time.
  • *July 2017 - Work on Feasibility Study halted because IRMC is unable to get required information from City staff 
  • *Aug 2017 - Email from Mary Smith, of Parks & Recreation lays out City Staff's vision of a Market at Beban
  • *Aug 2017 - IRMC responds to City Staff's Vision
  • *Aug 2017 - Meeting with city staff seeking clarification - Market Visions Compared
  • *Sept 2017 - Date set for another meeting with City staff representative Mary Smith
  • *Sept 21/17 - Vision Comparisons updated, moving closer together
  • *Nov 2017  - Consultants Farm Food Drink (FFD) Engaged to look at project viability and alternatives
  • *Jan 2018  - FFD Phase One Report published
  • *Feb 2018 - $5000 Coastal Community Credit Union Grant for Market Study received
  • *Feb 2018 - FFD Consultants begin work on report Phase Two with a survey
  • *March 2018 - Survey Result Comment by Larry Whaley
  • *April 2018 - A Market 4 All Seasons - video released
  • *April 2018 - FFD Phase Two Report released -recommends working with VIEx
  • *Jan 2019 - All attempts to establish partnership with VIEx are rejected by VIEx
  • *Feb 2019 - Business Plan revised - plans for full time vendor tenants dropped, building size reduced
  • *March 2019 - IRMC meets Parks Staff - more concerns identified - REPORT
  • *May 2019 - IRMC meets Parks Staff - Lease request to go to City Council - Video
  • *May 2019 - BuyBC cost shared promotion project begins. (50/50 sharing up to $10,000)
  • *June 2019 - Market Money Introduced, along with donation boxes.
  • *October 2019 - Market moves to Beban Park's Centennial Building for the Winter (video).
  • *November 2019 - Supporters surveyed re Co-op Goals - Survey Results
  • * January 2020 - BuyBC cost shared promotion ends. Island roots reports $16,000 loss for the year.


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