Darren Holcombe, who recently took on the job as the 2020 Fireweed Community Market manager, poses for a photo on April 21. Holcombe has confirmed the Shipyards Park will be available for the market this summer and that food sales at the market can continue this year as an essential service, but what that will look like is something he and the market board are still working on. (Submitted)

Fireweed Community Market officials ready for a very different season

Consultations underway with local vendors

It’s a weekly outing for many residents during the summer.

Thursday afternoon at the Fireweed Community Market at Shipyards Park — a chance to stroll the market for local produce and goods, meet with neighbours and friends and maybe grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks stationed there.

There’s no doubt the weekly market will be a very different operation this year with physical distancing requirements in place and other regulations aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, but organizers are working to offer a market in some form where local vendors can sell and shoppers can make those important local purchases.

Darren Holcombe, who was on the market board and has been a vendor with his partner for years, recently took on the job as the 2020 market manager.

While he’s confirmed the park will be available for the market this summer and that food sales at the market can continue this year as an essential service, what that will look like is something he and the market board are still working on.

“We are providing an essential service,” he said.

It’s also not known if the market will start in mid-May as it typically does.

As Holcombe said, officials will take time to work with vendors and public health officials to host a market where customers can purchase local food in one spot, while ensuring the health and safety of all.

“We’ve made no decision on the start date,” he said, noting officials want to firm up plans for the market first and are getting feedback from prospective vendors on the right date to start.

The market, he said, is typically a great place to socialize with customers making their way through the 25 to 40 vendor stalls, purchasing goods and chatting with one another. That can’t happen this year and prospective vendors are being asked for their thoughts on how the market might operate.

Among the methods being used to get the perspective of vendors were an email looking for feedback and an online open house hosted April 23.

It’s anticipated this year could see between 15 and 20 vendors in the market, as those selling local art and other such products won’t be able to participate due to the restrictions.

“Think of it as a grocery store, but outside,” Holcombe said of what the 2020 operations might look like.

It could be the market this year features vendor stalls widely spaced apart with chalk markings to indicate physical distancing spaces in lineups. There may also be areas flagged off and controlled access where market shoppers are to enter the market, as well directions on how pedestrian traffic is to flow through the market space.

A potential option being explored would be an online portal where residents could put in orders with vendors ahead of time and then go pick up their goods during market hours, a method that could make for quicker transactions.

Or it may be a digital list of vendors and how they can be reached for orders or if they sell their food at local shops around town.

Holcombe emphasized market organizers want to support vendors in whatever way they can “even just digitally.”

It’s also possible that whatever form the market takes at the beginning of the season could change by the end of the season depending on if and how restrictions to deal with COVID-19 change through the coming months. As Holcombe pointed out, the market is not a one-time event like so many others that have had to be cancelled in recent months.

“We have 18 episodes of the same event,” he said.

Given the situation with COVID-19, market officials started getting ready for the 2020 season earlier than usual.

Holcombe said while the market had an excellent manager in 2019 they would have been pleased to hire back, she is now in Ontario.

Knowing well how the market operates as both a vendor and board member, he decided to apply for the job (with the caveat he would leave the board if hired.)

“I have the ability to get right on it,” he said of readying for the summer amid a global pandemic that has brought a long list of changes to operations for any business or non-profit.

Along with considering how the Fireweed Community Market can operate locally within Yukon regulations and recommendations, that effort has also included looking at how markets in other jurisdictions are operating and adhering to distancing requirements and guidelines.

That effort will continue throughout the season as officials work to ensure residents have access to local food this summer and that vendors are able to sell their food products to locals.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Shop Local

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

The Fireweed Community Market in 2017. The 2020 market is allowed to happen as it is deemed an essential service, but may look different to confirm with the recommendations of the chief medical officer of health. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

adsf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read