A Farmers' Markets of Nova Scotia Blog


Coffee/tea and morning snack upon arrival provided by the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

9:30AM Welcome, Announcements & Introductions/Meet Your Neighbour

10:15AM Official Meeting of the Cooperative:

  • 10:15 Approval of the Agenda – any other business to add?
  • 10:25 President’s Report, Ashley Marlin
  • 10:45 Executive Director’s Report, Keltie Butler
  • 11:15 Financial Report, Vice President Wayne Edgar
  • 11:45 Nominations to the Board & Introductions
  • 12PM Vote to Elect Board Members
  • All Other Business and close of official meeting of the Cooperative.

12:15PM lunch, suggested contribution of $10pp

1PM Forming A Partnership With Your Municipality – Geralyn MacDonald, Director of Community Economic Development, Town of New Glasgow

  • Q&A followed by table discussions

2:15PM afternoon break with coffee/tea and snacks thanks to the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

2:30PM How To Know If Your Social Media Is Working – Gillian Wesley, Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative Social Media Specialist

  • Q&A

3:15PM Tour of the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market

4-5PM NETWORKING EVENT. Special Guests to include:

  • Karen Wong-Petrie, Director, NS Dept of Environment (Food Safety)
  • Kim White, Director of Workplace Education, NS Dept of Labour & Advanced Education
  • Deputy Minister Murray Coolican, NS Dept of Business
  • Sheila Stevenson, Director of Slow Food Nova Scotia
  • Linda Best, Founder of FarmWorks Investment Cooperative
  • Emily Haynes, Executive Director of Taste of Nova Scotia

All member markets are asked to attend and vendors are also welcome. There is no cost to attend however you must RSVP to our office by Thursday, April 27th. A locally sourced lunch will be provided with a suggested donation of $10. Partners are welcome to join us for the networking hour, 4-5PM. Again, an RSVP is required by Thursday, April 27th.

Safe Food for Canadians Act

April 7th, 2017

RE: Safe Food for Canadians Act

The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative is directly composed of more than 20 member farmers’ markets across the province and works with an additional 40+ farmers’ markets across Atlantic Canada. Across Canada, the Farmers’ Market Sector continues to grow. In Nova Scotia, we saw three-fold growth in the sector from 2004 to 2014. Nova Scotia is currently home to the highest number of farmers’ market per capita in Canada and boasts more than 1500 farmers’ market-based businesses. According to research recently conducted by the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture, new entrant farmers – defined as those in their first five years of operation – overwhelming use direct marketing to sell their product and build their business including farmers’ markets and CSAs (Barriers to Growth). According to Stats Canada (2011), Nova Scotia was the only province in Canada to show an increase in the number of farms since 2006.

The producers based in our Farmers’ Market Sector are (1) new entrants and start-up operations, (2) businesses in a stage of growth and incubation and (3) farms which are focused long-term on direct to consumer sales. Many of these producers also sell into other eastern Canadian provinces, particularly the Maritime provinces. Given this, we write to submit our concerns and recommendations regarding the Safe Foods for Canadians Act Regulations. Specifically,

  • To date, whole fruits and vegetables have been outside of interprovincial trade regulations, as they have been understood to be low risk and unprocessed. They Safe Food for Canadians Act Regulations, as it has been drafted, is a sharp departure as it views whole fruit and vegetables that have been rinsed or washed of field soil and/or trimmed to be “processed”. The idea that rinsing, washing or trimming (for example the green leafy tops of carrots or the roots of garlic removed for display and sale) is equivalent to “processing” is a gross overstatement and, most importantly, will limit the marketing opportunities of our primary producers. We recommend that whole fruits and vegetables not be categorized as “processed” and that farms and their whole fruits and vegetables would continue to be regulated as per the legislation in the sold-in province.
  • The Safe Food for Canadians Act Regulations includes an exemption to what it refers to as “micro farms”, farms with a gross annual income of $30,000 or less. Assuming that this exemption is meant to serve small-scale producers, the dollar amount set is much too low. Considering the growing non-commodity farm sector in Atlantic Canada, and the profitability of direct to consumer sales, this exemption will only serve to limit small farm growth and profit.
  • We recommend that the Safe Food for Canadians Act Regulations exempt from registration farms that sell direct to end-users including farmers’ market, CSA boxes programs and restaurants. End user sales are based on trust and direct exchange between farmers and customers. Through direct sale, the public interacts with growers – a powerful way to build public trust in Canadian food and agriculture. Further to this point, we echo the words of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture and of New Brunswick farmer Tim Livingstone, whose letters we have included below.
  • An additional core concern of ours is the creation and requirement of each farm selling across a provincial border to have a “Preventative Control Plan” or PCP. As is directly stated in the Safe Foods for Canadians Act Regulations, this annual cost for a farm to comply with this proposed requirement is $6,370. Given the food safety record of direct to market producers, the requirement of a PCP and its cost, are an unnecessary burden and, most importantly, an obstacle to a sector which needs support.
  • Given the geography and demographics, we recommend that the Safe Foods for Canadians Act Regulations treat Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as one unique regional entity, equivalent to a province. Taken alone, the size/population of each of the Maritime provinces creates a challenge for farms to access a sufficient customer base as well as sufficient inputs and infrastructure. Federal regulations which hinder sale across the Maritime provinces threaten the accessibility of local food. In addition, treating the Maritime provinces as one entity could support the development of food hubs and other local food initiatives.
  • The Farmers’ Market Sector is also home to the growing Organic movement. We recognize that the Safe Foods for Canadians Act Regulations, as it is drafted, includes the Organic Sector and organic standards. We look to the expertise of the Canadian Organic Growers organization and the Canada Organic Trade Association. We ask that you do the same.

Lastly, we ask the question of “what is safe food?”  The Safe Foods for Canadians Act Regulations is first and foremost designed around large-scale, commodity production. In its drafted form, it lacks an understanding of direct to consumer production – a growing agricultural sector across Canada and, certainly in Nova Scotia. Direct to consumer farms are producing safe food for their communities – our vibrant Farmers’ Market Sector is proof of that.

We are calling for a regulatory environment that supports location production, that acknowledges differences in risk and business model, and that refutes a one-size-fits-all mentality. We ask that you familiarize yourself with how these regulations will impact direct-to-market farms, the growing non-commodity agricultural sector in Atlantic Canada and, in turn, access to local, fresh, healthy food.

Thank you for your consideration; please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions on this matter.

PS: The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative is a member of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. We add our name to their letter submission found here. We also add our support to a letter written by New Brunswick farmer and direct to market producer Tim Livingstone, found here.


Keltie Butler
Executive Director
Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative

The opportunity to submit closes on April 21st, 2017.
The full disclosure of the Safe Food for Canadians Act and what it means can be found here.
To complete the consultation survey, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) website at

Are you passionate about our farmers’ market sector?

Dear Farmers’ Market Members:

Farmers’ Markets Nova Scotia Cooperative (FMNS) is directed by a dedicated group of volunteers drawn from member markets and supporters of the farmers’ market movement. Each year one or two positions become available as the terms of current board members come to an end. My three year term ends this May creating a vacancy for a new member. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be involved with our board. I am writing to you to encourage you to consider serving on the FMNS board of directors or to nominate someone from your market or community.

I have really enjoyed my time working with other board members from all over Nova Scotia and our Executive Director, Keltie Butler. The work of our board is very important to the health and development of the farmers’ market sector. The board of course is responsible for the overall direction of FMNS, ensures that the needs of member markets and vendors are represented on a provincial level, oversees the work of our executive director and monitors the cooperative’s finances. The board meets by telephone once a month, and twice a year for a face to face gathering. Occasional tasks are assumed by board members as needed. The responsibilities are clear as is the time commitment which is not onerous.

Again, I encourage you to consider serving on our board of directors. It provides an opportunity to get a bird’s eye of the farmers’ market sector and meet some great people who are passionate about local communities and local business. Please contact Keltie or me if you would like more details.


Wayne Edgar

Market Manager Professional Development Series 2017/8

Managers! Mobilizers! Friends and Colleagues!

Lucky us. The Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative is running a “travelling road show” version of our Market Manager-Leader-Staff professional development series in 2017.

What that means is that we can move our program around the province, offering a monthly networking and professional development day in various market locations or towns. We will meet 6 times in 2017. We will do a training/workshop in the mornings, and work on some projects together in the afternoons. We will cluster the work groups in small, medium, and large-sized market groups, so you are working with colleagues from similarly-sized markets.

The benefit is that more of you should be able to participate because, at least once, we’ll be meeting in a location very close to home. (In fact, we are hoping several of you will host a day at your market!) We hope this helps you say YES to being part of the program this year.

Here is our tentative schedule, 6 sessions in total:

  • Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market – May 30
  • Antigonish – June 27
  • Hubbards Farmers’ Market – Oct 31
  • Wolfville Farmers’ Market – Nov 28
  • Truro Farmers’ Market – Jan 2018
  • My office, Berwick, Kings County – Feb 2018


Of course, this is free to attend if your market is a member of the FMNS Cooperative, there is just a $30 supply fee required from each participant.

Based on the immense success of the 2016 Manager PD and Networking Program, we want a way for more of us to get together from various regions across the province in 2017. Please help us make this work! Building a network of colleagues is a TREMENDOUS way to build our overall movement and professionalism in Nova Scotia. Learning, thinking and problem-solving together is also a tremendous way to build our own individual capacities in our jobs.

I look forward to hearing back from you as soon as possible, and working with this group of favourite people again this coming year.

Thank you.

Michelle Wolf, BA, MES
Director of Training, Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative
Certified Coach and Founder of Whole Green Heart Inc.

Web: and
Voicemail: 902-538-3720
Postal: RR5, Berwick, NS, B0P 1E0

Warm Up With Local Wool

Warm Up With Local Wool

Photos: Wonkyeye Photography

Nova Scotia is so beautiful this time of year. Fresh air, the crunch of leaves under your boots, and the still sunny (albeit shorter and colder) days. It’s a great time to get outside and explore, provided you’ve put on a few layers!

Farmers’ markets are about more than just food, and this is a great time of year to explore beautiful knits and cozy clothing on your market trip. Here are a few reasons to add local wool to your wardrobe this season.

  • Wool is a renewable, natural fibre.
  • French settlers brought the first sheep to Canada in the 1650’s.
  • Wool helps regulate body temperature because it is an absorbent fibre, making it suitable for warm or cool climates.
  • Wool fibres do not easily pill, snag, or break, so wool garments generally outlast synthetics.
  • Wool is the only natural fibre that is resistant to flame.
  • We have a number of wool producers in Nova Scotia, from whom you can purchase yarns, knit wear, and other goods. Many more local artisans work with wool to create beautiful garments. Look for them on your next market trip!

Wool facts adapted from Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers Ltd. (

9 Nova Scotia Farmers’ Markets Open In The Winter

9 Nova Scotia Farmers’ Markets Open In The Winter

Market shopping isn’t just a summertime thing. If you’re looking for a farmers’ market this winter, we’ve got you covered! Below is a list of certified farmers’ markets open through the Winter 2017 season.

Cape Breton Farmers’ Market
Location: 340 Keltic Drive, Sydney River
Hours of operation: Saturdays, 8:30 am – 1 pm

Greenwood Mall Farmers’ Market
Location: Greenwood Mall, 963 Central Avenue, Greenwood
Hours of operation: Thursdays, Noon – 4 pm

Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market
Pier 20, 1209 Marginal Road, Halifax
Hours of operation: 
Mon-Fri, 10 am – 5 pm; Saturdays, 7 am – 3 pm; Sundays 9 am – 3pm

Kentville Farmers’ Market
Kentville Recreation Centre, 350 Main St. Kentville
Hours of operation: Wednesdays, 10 am – 2 pm

Lunenburg Farmers’ Market
Lunenburg Community Centre, 17 Green Street, Lunenburg
Hours of operation: 
Thursdays, 8:30 am – Noon* 

*Open 8:00 am – Noon until the end of December. Open 8:30 – Noon January – April.

New Glasgow Farmers’ Market
261 Glasgow Street (behind Glasgow Square), New Glasgow
Hours of operation: 
Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm

Tatamagouche Farmers’ Market (opens April 8th 2016)
Location: Creamery Square, 41 Creamery Road, Tatamagouche
Hours of operation: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm

Truro Farmers Market 
Location: 15 Young St, Truro, NS
Hours of operation: Saturdays 9 am – 1 pm

Wolfville Farmers’ Market
DeWolfe Building, 24 Elm Street, Wolfville 
Hours of operation: 
Saturdays, 8:30 am – 1 pm

Certified Farmers’ Markets adhere to a Make It, Bake It, Grow It policy. Find a certified farmers’ market near you on our Find A Market page!