At the Farmers Market, we are not strangers but neighbours

Volunteering in New Westminster connects you to the community like nothing else. There's no shortage of causes to choose from, but my organization of choice is the Royal City Farmers Market.

Volunteering in New Westminster connects you to the community like nothing else. There’s no shortage of causes to choose from: New West Environmental PartnersCommunity GardensHyackFrasersidePurpose SocietyDowntown BIAFamily Place, local resident’s associations, neighborhood festival committees, advisory boards for the city, Arts Council … the list goes on. My organization of choice is the Royal City Farmers Market.

Will Tomkinson, taking a break while volunteering at the 2009 summer market. Photo: Graham Ballantyne
Will, taking a break while volunteering at the 2009 summer market. Photo: Graham Ballantyne

The Royal City Farmers Market began operations in the spring of 2008. Each Thursday afternoon, the 4th street parking lot near Tipperary Park became a village square, busy with the sounds of commerce and the happy buzz of community. The market not only provided access to healthy, local food and supported local producers and business, but it was also a place to build bonds across neighborhoods and connect the folk of New West with events and groups active throughout the city. I was hooked, and hungry to be involved.

I put my name forward as a volunteer. I began by showing up early and staying late at the market, assisting with setup and teardown of the market booths. Soon I was invited on to the Board of Directors and at the Society AGM, I was confirmed as Vice President. I have loved every minute of it and I am sure this feeling is echoed by the volunteers on community and charitable boards throughout New Westminster:

On Saturday, April 17th, it is RCFM’s last market of the winter season. This was the first year RCFM hosted a monthly Winter Market, and by any measure it was a success. Once a month for the last five months, RCFM has returned to the Holy Trinity Cathedral parish hall and stocked it full of local vendors, food producers and community organizations. Initially, there was some worry if the good folks of the Royal City would come out and support the market in the same way they had in the summer season. But each month without fail, the market would be busy with friends and neighbours sharing stories over crepes and hot coffee, enjoying music or children’s activities and taking advantage of the best products the Farmer’s Market scene has to offer. At the market, we are not strangers, but neighbours.

So this is it, city. This Saturday is the big finale and the gang at RCFM have a great day lined up for you. There are more vendors at the April 17th market than at any previous RCFM winter market. This market is the long awaited ‘flower market’ with two fresh flower vendors, ready to help you brighten up your home. For musical entertainment, RCFM is proud to bring back steel guitarist Ross Werlick (one of my favorite market performers). Children will be treated to an eco-friendly activity at “Exploring a Green World” presented by Family Services of Greater Vancouver. As usual, the market remains a great place for families with kids to come and play and interact with their city. Doors open at 10am and the 2009/2010 RCFM winter season is officially closed as of 2:00 pm, when the market day ends. Weekly summer markets resume June 10th at 4pm in Tipperary Park.

RCFM – Winter Market from Royal City Farmers Market on Vimeo.

Will Tomkinson

Will Tomkinson is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.


  1. Good to see you yesterday Will (although briefly for me). I’d like to personally thank all the RCFM volunteers and boardmembers for the good work they do in organizing and completing each of the monthly (winter) and weekly (summer) markets. You all contribute greatly to making our community that much better.

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