Farmer’s market a first for Ward 22

[attach]6012[/attach]Over the past decade there has been an increasing desire to eat healthier, locally-grown food and to create a sustainable communities.

A recent national study found 92 percent of shoppers say buying directly from a farmer is important to them. From knocking on doors in Ward 22 during the last election, I know many in our community want the opportunity to purchase fresher fruits and vegetables from nearby farms. Residents also told me they want to create a sense of community in their neighbourhoods.

That’s why I’m delighted to announce Ward 22’s first community farmer’s market opened at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park on June 5. The market is run by Appletree Markets, a local, non-profit organization dedicated to maintaining a farmers’ market for the community, with an emphasis on local produce and promoting green living.

The market’s 25 vendors offer fresh fruit and vegetables as well as hormone and antibiotic free meats, beauty products, baked goods and prepared meals.

The market will operate Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. until mid-October. I intend to revisit the success of this market based on feedback I receive from the surrounding neighbourhood.

Shopping at the farmers’ market is a healthy decision not only for you, but for our economy. For every dollar spent at the market, another two dollars ripple through the provincial economy. For every person you see working at the market, another two are employed back on the farm. Almost 27,000 people in Ontario are directly involved in preparing and selling products you find at the market.

Furthermore, farmers’ markets are good for local businesses. Studies show 60 to 70 percent of market-goers visit neighbouring businesses as well. The nearby Mt. Pleasant BIA is a strong supporter of this new market.

Also, the direct revenue from farmer’s markets allows farmers to continue growing food which protects Ontario’s prime agricultural land from urban sprawl.

I believe this initiative will be a very positive addition to our community. It will provide a place for families and friends to come together and animate their local park. The increased activity in the park, for four hours a week, will make it a safer, more welcoming public space for the whole neighbourhood.

I look forward to seeing you there.