In October 2007, Host Jon Steinman paid a visit to the community of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. With a population of 80,000, it came as a surprise to discover that the city does not maintain a functioning farmers' market where food is the focus. Recognizing how the absence of one threatened the already vulnerable state of Vancouver Island agriculture, the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op organized a one-day Farmers' Showcase. The event acted as a trial farmers' market to determine the feasibility of such an event on a weekly basis.
With over 3,000 people swarming upon the farmers and producers, the success of the market was a clear sign of the healthy potential for an increase in local food production on Vancouver Island.
Dirk Becker, Farmer/Activist, Compassion Farms (Lantzville, BC) - Dirk farms organically on 2.5 acres. He uses farming as a means to inspire others to reconnect with the land of which we are a part. Dirk is a member of the Food Sustainability Sub-Committee of the Mid-Island Co-op. He hosts a weekly radio program on CHLY Nanaimo - Heart and Mind, Tuesday, 1-2pm.
Arata Tanaka, Baker, Flour, Water, Salt Breads (Mill Bay, BC) - In 2006, Arata was permitted to build a wood-fired brick oven on the property of Merridale Estate Cidery. He sells his bread at Vancouver Island markets.
Betty Benson, Farmer, Cedar Valley Poultry (Nanaimo, BC) - The Benson family has been supporting agriculture in the Nanaimo area since 1948. Betty now raises organic Chickens and Turkeys and recently launched an adopt-a-turkey program.
Bob Handel, Farmer, Happy Beef (Nanaimo, BC) - Maintaining a small herd of cattle, according to their customers, Bob and Gerry Handel sell some of the finest tasting beef on Vancouver Island.
Maureen Drew, Partner, Artisan Edibles Fine Food Company (Parksville, BC) - Artisan Edibles condiments and preserves blend the best flavours of Vancouver Island and the world. Their mission is to develop flavourful condiments using Vancouver Island's natural bounty.
Stan Reist, Co-Owner, Flying Dutchman (Nanaimo, BC) - Supplies bees, bee-keeping supplies and honey sales from the Mountains and Valleys of Vancouver Island.
Craig Evans, Landscape & Garden Coordinator, Providence Farm (Duncan, BC) - A working organic farm dedicated to restoring the spirit and skills of those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
Sharon Vansickle, Sharon's Kitchen Crafts (Nanaimo, BC) - Sharon produces a wide-range of condiments and preserves and offers canning workshops to area-residents.
Lorelai Andrew, Food Sustainability Sub-Committee, Mid-Island Co-op (Nanaimo, BC)