Innovative Marketing Initiative to Elevate New and Existing BC Farmers’ Market Vendors

Salt Spring Farmers' Market: Photo credit Stasia Garraway + BC Farmers' Market Trail
Salt Spring Farmers' Market: Photo credit Stasia Garraway + BC Farmers' Market Trail

Hatch + Hype offers multiple economic benefits to promoting farm and food products

COURTENAY, 22 FEBRUARY, 2023 – A marketing initiative to promote new and existing farm and food products, led by the BC Association of Famers’ Markets, will be replicated in 25 markets across Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast, with funding support from Island Coastal Economic Trust’s Capital and Innovation Program.

Hatch + Hype is an entrepreneurial marketing strategy that builds on a successful 2020-21 pilot that launched in 13 markets in the Kootenays and Columbia Basin. The goal is to increase the sale of BC and regional farm and food products while increasing the market share of direct sales.

“We are really excited to expand the Hatch + Hype initiative to Vancouver Island, Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast,” says Heather O’Hara, Executive Director of BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM). “This is a huge opportunity to promote and showcase new farm and food entrepreneurs and products at farmers’ markets, strengthen business support networks and recruit even more entrepreneurs in underrepresented communities across BC.”

Farmers’ markets are integral training grounds for thousands of local and regional small-scale businesses. With their low barrier, grassroots, and direct retail sales channels, they have the potential to play a vital role in helping to build stronger and more resilient food systems. Part of Hatch + Hype’s mission is to help inspire and educate markets, facilitate, and empower them with the tools and resources needed to promote and utilize the program. The strategy will also help target and support members of minority groups who may face disproportionate barriers along the pathway to becoming food entrepreneurs.

“We know this initiative will support farmers’ markets in truly owning their vital role as direct farm and food retail sales channels and making it easier to attract and promote new food vendors,” says Heather. “For new and existing vendors, this project will encourage them to test, launch, promote, sell and gain real customer feedback on their farm and food business ideas.”

Hatch + Hype’s strategy also includes the creation of a cohesive and dynamic brand that will be visible at farmers’ markets and highlight what is new and local. Easily recognizable products will help increase ownership loyalty and engagement to the market, and new and existing vendors will be encouraged to showcase new products in the branded booth space, if desired.

“This project comes at a pivotal time, as we’ve seen greater emphasis on food security, food systems, and eating local and sustainably,” says Aaron Stone, Chair, Island Coastal Economic Trust. “It’s inspiring to see the success Hatch + Hype has had elsewhere, and we are honoured to be a part of a project that holds equal promise in our coastal communities and aligns with the growing B.C Food Hub network currently being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture.”

The BC Farmers’ Market Association Hatch + Hype project is supported through the Capital and Innovation Program. The Trust will contribute $50,000 to a total project budget of $99,500. The project will be underway imminently.


About Island Coastal Economic Trust 

Founded by the Province of British Columbia in 2006, the Island Coastal Economic Trustworks to build a sustainable and resilient coastal economy in reciprocal relationships with First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts across Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and islands and inlets from the Salish Sea to Cape Caution. Serving over half a million residents, we partner with communities in the development and financing of their economic infrastructure and diversification efforts through our unique structure that is led by, and accountable to, communities. 

Since our inception, Island Coastal Economic Trust has approved more than $58 million to economic development initiatives that have attracted over $308 million in new investment to our region. These investments have created over 2,750 permanent jobs, and countless positive impacts, across the coast. 

Island Coastal Economic Trust acknowledges that we work for communities across the ancestral and unceded territories of the Kwak̓wala, Nuučaan̓uɫ, Éy7á7juuthem, Ligwilda’xw, Pəntl’áč, She shashishalhem, Swx̱wú7mesh, Hul’q’umi’num’, diitiidʔaatx̣, SENĆOŦEN, Lekwungen, and T’Sou-ke speaking peoples.  


Media Contacts 

Brodie Guy
Island Coastal Economic Trust

Evanna Kieran
BCAFM Media Relations
BC Association of Farmer’s Markets