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Shop, Sip, Support: Trail's All About Heart event this weekend

Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Farmers' Market is bringing the runway to you this weekend with a heart-warming event that raises funds for low-income families, seniors, and expectant moms.

All About Heart will feature two fashion shows at noon and 3 p.m. highlighting spring designs, accessories, and shoes from local shops, as well as an indigenous line from B.C. The event will host vendor booths from artisans, bakers, and wellness and pampering services. It takes place this Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Riverbelle from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket holders will also enjoy a refreshment, hors d'oeuvres, and a Valentine’s Day swag bag.

Tickets ($25) are limited and must be purchased in advance online at the Charles Bailey Theatre Box Office; in person at Rossland’s Bear Country Kitchen, JJ’s Fashion, or The Doorway in Trail; or at Country Roads General Store in Fruitvale.

“We invite the public to show a little extra love to someone special in their life with this early Valentine’s Day event that encourages you to shop, sip, and support,” says Gina Ironmonger, co-manager for Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Farmers' Market. “This event truly is special because it supports farmers, artisans, local businesses, and particularly those in need.”

Proceeds from the event benefit the BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program, a provincial healthy eating initiative that supports vulnerable residents and strengthens the local food system. Spearheaded by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets, the regional arm of the program is in its third year, thanks to financial backing from the Columbia Basin Trust and donations from sponsors like the United Way of Trail & District. All About Heart looks to increase the number of coupon books doled out to local recipients via the United Church Food Bank.

From June through October 2019, the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program helped more than 160 low-income seniors, families, and expectant mothers in the Lower Columbia region purchase healthy, fresh food, but there’s still a growing need.

Each booklet contains seven coupons valued at $21 total, which can be used to purchase vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, eggs, and herbs from market vendors. 

The program encourages those in need to purchase quality, nutritious products raised and grown in the region. This then acts as an incubator for the agriculture community. By connecting individuals directly with farmers, Ironmonger says it’s also created an opportunity for vendors to educate shoppers on cooking tips, like how to reduce waste and get multiple meals out of a single chicken by using every part.

“There’s a great interaction between the farming community and the recipients of the coupon books because now they’re chatting about products and techniques they may not have been familiar with. They take that education with them to the grocery store later,” adds Ironmonger. “I’ve also found that going to Trail’s IncrEDIBLE Farmers' Market to purchase food has turned into an inclusive outing that’s full of musical entertainment.”

A volunteer-run endeavor by the Sustainable Local Agriculture Committee of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society, the award-winning market primarily focuses on promoting local agriculture - vendors must bake, grow, or raise their goods - and local businesses by bringing people downtown.

“The impact that it has on our agricultural community and on our downtown business community is incredible,” says Ironmonger. “We educate, engage, and inspire people to create a vibrant farming sector that nourishes and supports our communities and natural environment. It’s beautiful to see the market also used as a platform to connect and feed our vulnerable residents.”

For a good time supporting a great cause, make sure to get your tickets online before midnight on Thursday, Feb. 6, or pick yours up at any of the participating local retailers. Also make sure to check out the All About Heart event on Facebook.