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Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market Program celebrates a 50-year history

“Farmers’ markets are renowned business incubators where entrepreneurs can test their product ideas and learn valuable business skills,” says Eileen Kotowich, farmers’ market specialist with the Alberta government. “To help ensure market managers and vendors had the information they needed to be successful, the Alberta government started the Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market Program in 1973. It provides guidelines and minimum standards that all approved farmers’ markets must follow.”

In 1974 the government registered the “Sunnygirl” symbol as the official logo that would help consumers identify Alberta approved farmers’ markets. It signals that at least 80% of vendors are Alberta entrepreneurs who make, bake or grow the products they are selling. Many food businesses who have worked with Alberta’s Food Processing Development Centre got their start at farmers’ markets before selling products in retail stores.

There are more than 145 Alberta approved farmers’ markets serving over 110 communities across the province. This reach is important, considering almost 80% of Alberta households shop at farmers’ markets. When consumers buy products at a market, they spend about $70 on average per visit. More than 80% of this is spent on local food, which includes everything from fresh Alberta produce and other farm products to baking, preserves and ready-made meals to ethnic offerings.

Albertans can download a free Alberta Approved Farmers’ Market app to find locations, operating hours and contact information. Access the App Store or Google Play through sunnygirl.ca.

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