Fernie’s first local food store is set to open its doors this October, offering residents year round access to farm fresh produce.
The new shop, Local, will operate under Fernie’s Wildsight branch, creating a low-barrier entry for local producers to sell their stock and fostering greater food security within the Elk Valley.
“COVID-19 has highlighted the need to have local food available when supplies do not come in from around the country so easily,” said Robyn Peel, Local volunteer.
“We also want to support local farmers in accessing their customers easily and efficiently.”
The physical store will open in October at the Wildsight office at 891 Second Avenue.
A number of local farms will be represented in the market, as well as producers based out of Creston that offer late-season products such as garlic, potatoes, squash and apples.
“There are already existing locations where people can purchase local handmade goods, so we are focusing on helping local farmers and producers get their food out to people.”
Customers can expect to find fresh produce from their Mountain Market favourites, alongside a number of new vendors. Though the Local Store will resemble an indoor farmers market, vendors will not be physically present.
The volunteer run store will be open five days a week, from Tuesday through to Saturday, allowing residents and Elk Valley tourists to access local produce 12 months a year.
A website will launch alongside the store’s grand opening, allowing residents to place orders online for pick up and delivery.
With the Mountain Markets having wrapped up for the season and the annual Chautauqua County Fair cancelled, Wildsight will also be hosting a round of miniature outdoor farmers markets, ensuring residents have access to local produce throughout the fall months.
The miniature markets will be held on Sundays outside the Wildsight office throughout September, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Residents looking to support the upcoming Local store can do so by becoming a volunteer, reaching out with recommendations for local suppliers, signing up for email updates, or donating via Wildsight.ca/local.
Those interested in becoming vendors are encouraged to email Wildsight at firstname.lastname@example.org.