Column: Support Farmer’s Market

We’ve had a beautiful spring here in the Cariboo. Have you had the opportunity to stop by our local farmer’s market?

We’ve had a beautiful spring here in the Cariboo. Have you had the opportunity to stop by our local farmer’s market?

Farming is a key part of our regional economy, and our local farmers work hard every year to give us healthy, nutritious, food.

I was raised on a farm. I’m proud that farming is part of my heritage. Because it’s one of the mainstays of our economy here in the Cariboo, it’s important that we work together to sustain this sector. We depend on local farmers to produce the food we eat. The best way to support our local farmers, is to buy locally-sourced food. When you buy from local businesses, you support people in our community and keep money circulating in our local economy.

Our government has invested $8 million in the B.C. Buy local Program, including $2 million as part of budget 2016. To ensure as many people as possible can access local food, families who use food banks, charities and school lunch programs now have further access to fresh, healthy, and local food that has been donated by their neighbours in the B.C. agrifood sector.

The new 2016 Farmers’ Food Donation Tax Credit is available to individuals and corporations that carry on the business of farming and donate a qualifying agricultural product to a registered charity. The product may include meat, eggs, dairy, fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, herbs, honey, maple syrup, mushrooms, nuts or other produce grown, raised or harvested on a B.C. farm. The credit, worth 25 per cent of the fair market value of the qualifying agricultural product, must be claimed in the same year that a charitable donation tax credit or deduction is claimed. The credit is available for the 2016-2018 tax years, after which the credit will be reviewed.

From fruit and vegetables to eggs, to local meat, to honey, to fresh baking and handmade soaps, the Williams Lake Farmers Market has something for everyone.

The next time you need to pick up some fruits and vegetables, I encourage you to support local farmers. Head down to the Williams Lake Farmer’s Market at Boitano Park. Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 7.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

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