The Haney Farmers Market Society has been created to encourage a healthy community. In doing so, we strive to offer a safe, relaxing and enjoyable place for people to come together. The Market will serve to stimulate and support local economic initiatives, to provide an opportunity for community groups and individuals to inform and entertain their neighbours and to support and strongly encourage practices, which work toward ecological and community health. The Haney Farmers Market wishes to celebrate the historic farming communities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
In the early part of 2003, Building Community Solutions asked the community to come together and take part in a study circle process to look at issues around poverty, youth and building a healthy community. Participants identified the number one action theme to deal with all of the issues facing our community: “People in neighbourhoods getting to know each other and becoming more involved in community life.” The thought occurred to one study circle that a community Farmers Market would be a great way for people to become more involved in community life and a wonderful venue for neighbours to get to know each other better.
The Building Community Solutions Steering Committee felt very strongly that a Farmers Market could achieve the goal defined by the Neighbourhood Study Circles. A market had been tried in the past but wasn’t successful, so the Committee did some research and concluded:
• People are hungry to make connections with each other
• Farmers Markets are like mini-festivals, they attract people looking to have a shared experience
• Creating relationships between people is the key to success for any community market or any community for that matter
• Most people, particularly young families, want to know where their food comes from. They want locally grown produce
• Historically, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows are farming communities
• All over North America, part suburban and part rural communities like ours, are struggling to provide a good quality of life, trying to retain residents and attract businesses while not losing their unique local character
• Farmers Markets address some of these very complex issues by providing a ‘sense of place’, allowing communities like ours to cultivate and support what makes us unique.
A committee was formed in May of 2004. They were incorporated as the Haney Farmers Market Society on August 4, 2004. After numerous meetings, a location was secured, a purpose statement created and with a loan of two thousand dollars from the Building Community Solutions Steering Committee, the market began. The Haney Farmers Market Committee proceeded with its first market from August 21 to October 9, 2004.
The following May, Haney Farmers Market commenced for a longer season. The brilliant blue summer sky provided a wonderful backdrop to the many festivals associated with the Market: Doggie Daze, Medieval Market, Kidz Daze, etc. We were able to move the Market closer to 224th Street becoming part of the downtown shopping experience. The number of satisfied customers and eager vendors grew. The Market Society hosts fabulous volunteer dinners in October inviting volunteers and vendors to celebrate their success. On year, in November, the Farmers Market capped it all off by hosting their first ever “Winter Market”. Modeled after the European Christmas Markets, vendors were encouraged to use lights and festive touches to create a unique atmosphere in beautiful Memorial Peace Park.
As the seasons changed and years went by, a market coordinator was hired to facilitate growth. The Market participates in Earth Day, Canada Day, GETI Fest and a trip to the historic Brookfield Farm and partners with many others during the summer. Autumn markets are held undercover at Grow&Gather from mid October to mid November. The District of Maple Ridge supported the Market by purchasing and installing four permanent signs on provincial and municipal roadways.
The Haney Farmers Market continues to value its ‘roots’. With an ongoing commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability, the Board of Directors looks to the community for direction and support. The Market looks forward to the opportunity to be part of the communities of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie for many years to come.