One Indoor/Outdoor Year-Round Market

A single indoor year-round market open 5 or 6 days each week in Nanaimo will provide consumers access to food and other locally made items when they need it. The days of wondering where to buy the items you want will be over. Missing a 2 or 3 hour market opening will no longer be a major concern.


Producers (vendors) too will benefit. They will have a predictable market to base plans on and from which to sell what they produce. They will still be able to set their own prices. They will not need to be at the market all of the time so they will have more time to spend on production and meeting the other needs of their businesses.


Consumer will enjoy reduced prices while producers enjoy an increased annual income because producers will no longer be required to earn their livings from the products they can produce and sell in a single season.


Presentation to Regional District of Nanaimo 2016-12-6 

Includes Proposed site Plan for Beban Park Development 

RDN - minutes December 6/16

BUSINESS ARISING FROM DELEGATIONS OR COMMUNICATIONS Island Roots Market Co-operative. 16-806 MOVED Director Kipp, SECONDED Director Hong, that the Board provide a letter of support for the Island Roots Market Co-operative, refer their request for a $25,000 grant to pay the cost of a feasibility study to budget discussions, and direct staff to prepare a report on funding options and financial implications regarding their requests for the Regional District to accept donations for the project from members of the public, and to provide assistance with writing grant applications. CARRIED

Proposed Building At Beban 

This drawing by Richard Hoedl, is what the IR Beban Building might look like - it does not show shared space (education, training kitchen). Follow the Link scroll down a little, click the image to enlarge.


We would first build the outdoor area, shown under the clear awnings at the front of the building, as a stand alone covered market space, then add the building for indoor space, then add shared facilities (building) at back of this market building if demand and money exist. The top windows could be made larger (square) and a second story added if there is a need. There would be skylights that are not shown.


Garage doors that would be open in the summer to create an indoor/outdoor market. Market tables, coolers or display cases would be located, both inside and out, against the sections of wall that separate the garage doors.  The main entrance faces south and the windows run from SE to West or WNW to take advantage of light and passive solar heating.

Given the large number of people coming to the market each week we will need to locate near the existing parking lots.

Island Roots Bowen Road Building Concept Drawing
Click Image for a Quick Look!
Island Roots Bowen Road Building Exterior Concept Drawing
IRMC Exterior Drawing Draft.png
Portable Network Image Format 14.2 MB

2016 IRMC Business Plan Cover Pic
Island Roots Market Co-op Business Plan updated August 2016
2016 8 IRMCBusinessPlan.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 385.0 KB

Page 1 of the Island Roots Market Co-op Cash Flows Projection for 2017
Island Roots Market Co-op Cash Flow Projections for 2018
Conservative fee estimates and low vendor participation projections produce a comfortable result.
2016 8 cashflow 2018.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 46.4 KB

Letter from the Parks and Recreation Commission
Letter from the Parks and Recreation Commission
Please find attached letter from the Parks and Recreation Commission containing the motion that was made at their meeting held on Wednesday, 2015-NOV-25, with regard to proposals for Beban Park.
Adobe Acrobat Document 388.0 KB

 Two Minute Slide Presentation - seeking permission to build at Beban Park




NOVEMBER 25, 2015



The Island Roots Market Co-operative seeks to build and operate a year-round, indoor/outdoor farmers’ and community market that will promote the sale of locally produced and sustainably harvested food and other locally made items.  The market, to be located at Beban Park, will include a food preparation and education center and a distribution facility (food hub).  


The proposed farmers’ and community market will contribute to meeting goals and objectives identified in Nanaimo’s Official Community Plan, 2008; the Beban Park Master Plan Update, 2015; and the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Agricultural Area Plan, 2012.


What is the Island Roots Market Co-operative (IRMC)?


The Island Roots Market Co-operative was registered July 17, 2012, under the British Columbia Co-operative Association Act, with the objective of establishing a year-round indoor market in Nanaimo and to be open five or six days a week.  The proposed Beban Park farmers’ and community market will provide Nanaimo and region residents with greater access to locally produced and sustainably harvested food.  It will provide regional Vancouver Island farmers and other vendors a predictable location from which to sell what they produce.


Our Co-operative began operating a once a week winter farmers’ market in October, 2014, in the Pleasant Valley Social Center at 6100 Doumont Road in Nanaimo.  IRMC began its second year of operation in the same location in October, 2015.  Each weekly market has had 25-30 vendors and an average of 450 consumers. Numerous vendors have been turned away for lack of space, and parking is always a challenge.  All revenue generated at the Market stays in the community because everything sold at the market is grown, baked, made, or caught by people living in the area.


Membership in Island Roots Market Co-operative is comprised of consumers, producers, supporting organizations and employees.  As of October, 2015, there were 279 members, including 66 producers and 5 supporting organizations.  Rules of IRMC specify that employees will be paid at least a living wage with no one being paid more than three times that amount. Profits made by IRMC will be returned to the members in patronage refunds.


Meeting Food Security Goals


The City of Nanaimo Official Community Plan, 2008, identifies food security as an important goal.  It lists several objectives: developing sustainable local food systems, encouraging partnerships for food security, and ensuring access to food.  The Island Roots Market Co-operative believes that it can contribute significantly to meeting these objectives.  Moreover, the proposed farmers’ and community market at Beban Park is in line with policies identified in the Official Community Plan, including the following:

  • improving access to healthy and affordable foods,
  • supporting urban agriculture,
  • building understanding “...about the principles of food security that link a prosperous economy to a healthy community” (OCP, Section 3.4), and
  • developing “ educational program to promote awareness around food production, health, and impacts on the community” (OCP, Section 3.4).

With respect to the wider central Vancouver Island area, the Regional District of Nanaimo developed an Agricultural Area Plan (2012) titled “Growing Our Future Together.”  The farmers and community market proposed by IRMC will be ideally situated to make a significant contribution to meeting several goals identified in “Growing Our Future Together.”  For example, consider “Goal #2 - Strengthen the Local Agriculture and Aquaculture Economy” and “Goal #6 - Promote Awareness and Value of Local Agriculture and Aquaculture” (p. iii).  The Island Roots Market Co-operative is also in agreement with the benefits of a localized or regionalized food system that are presented in “Growing Our Future Together.”


The Agricultural Area Plan explicitly states, “Local seasonal farmers’ markets are successful, and there is demand for a year-round market in the RDN.” (p. 1)  “Growing Our Future Together” further suggests Beban Park as a site for a year-round indoor farmers’ market for the region and gives it a high priority rating for action. (p. 33)


The Beban Park Master Plan Update 2015 begins with a brief history that recognizes the agricultural heritage of the park.  The plan update also pays attention to the pillars of the City’s Corporate Strategic Plan:  economic health, environmental responsibility, social equity and cultural vitality.  In addition, the plan update discusses the importance of fostering community partnerships in implementing “the community’s plan for the park”. (p. 6)


With regard to the policy context, the 2015 plan update mentions a food strategy being developed by the City.  The update states that “The goal of the Food Strategy is to focus on the specific needs, assets, and desires of the community in achieving a healthy, prosperous and sustainable food system.” (p. 8)


The Island Roots Market Co-operative believes that its proposal for a farmers’ and community market will fit well within the wider plans for Beban Park.


The Proposed Farmers’ and Community Market


We are at the earliest stages of development and want to work with you, your staff and other community organizations to put the meat on the bones of this community project. As we see it the market will be located inside and outside of a community building in a central area of the park. The precise location needs to be determined in consultation with your planning staff and others. Ideally it will include the following:

  • Fixed Sales area - 50 indoor market (10x10) spaces. These need to be lockable so vendors can leave products and equipment on site.
  • Temporary Floor sales - Space for an additional 30 - 50 vendors at tables  
  • Space for a Food Hub (drop off area for assembly and distribution to restaurants,  retailers etc)
  • 800 sq ft office space plus a boardroom (share with other community organizations)
  • Commercial Kitchen that can be used for training, education and preparing bulk food for sale ie canning, freezing, baking etc (Nanaimo Foodshare and VIEx also wants this so it can be shared with them or located in a VIEx building)
  • Cooler - walk in
  • An indoor Children's play area
  • Entertainment spaces for buskers etc inside and out
  • Indoor seating area - coffee, snacks, market food consumption (or restaurant seating)
  • Washrooms, storage and other common areas
  • Check out stations (cash registers) to be used at times when vendors are not present.
  • Covered outdoor spaces for up to 100 additional seasonal vendors.
  • Picnic benches, trees etc.

We have worked with an architect to determine that a 9,000 sq ft building with access to temporary space and covered outdoor space will meet our initial requirements for the functions listed above.  Through effective scheduling, and heeding the Beban Park Master Plan calling for flexible multi-use buildings, we estimate a cost for a first phase building of about two million dollars.  The actual uses, size and cost, however, need to be determined in conjunction with you, your staff and community organizations that include Nanaimo Community Gardens Society, Nanaimo Foodshare Society, The Bowen Road Farmers’ Market Society and others who will choose to participate.


Our Request  


The Island Roots Market Co-operative requests that the Parks and Recreation Commission:

  1. Agree that the farmers’ and community market project is in the community’s interest and helps to achieve the food security goal of the City.
  2. Instruct staff to assist The Island Roots Market Co-operative’s efforts to move this project through Step 2 - Approval in Principle - of the City’s Guidelines For Community Capital Projects.

Respectfully submitted by,


Island Roots Market Co-operative Board of Directors:  

Larry Whaley, President                                                            Leah Snobelen, Market Manager

Tomazs Hoekstra, Vice President                                            Chris Brown, Director

Chris Semrick, Secretary                                                           Lorne Ebel, Director

Elaine Wade, Treasurer                                                             Barbara Ebel, Director


Volunteer Consultants:  C. Michael Hill, MAIBC BArch; Susan Nelson, Ph.D.

Island Roots Market's Five Year Plan

Spring/Summer2015 – Develop a marketing strategy that will boost attendance of both vendors and consumers. Develop a process for tracking member purchases leading to patronage refunds.


Fall 2015– Continue Nanaimo’s only year round market one day each week at our current location. Implement member purchase tracking. Add activities and income streams.


Spring 2016– Open our market two days per week – at our current location. Re-initiate the search for a location for a five day per week market. This could be a rental building, one we buy or one we build (alone, or in conjunction with the city’s Beban Park Plan and other social enterprises).


Fall 2016 –Move the Market indoors. Continue to work toward a five day location.

2017– Open five days per week at our new location.


Spring 2018 Expand activities and corresponding income streams. Develop capacity to handle collection and distribution of locally produced food and other consumables to stores and restaurants throughout the Island.


2019 & 2020– Implement and refine distribution and sales systems while identifying product and service gaps and helping to establish co-ops to fill them.