I had the pleasure of visiting our food community in Toronto in mid April, courtesy of the Greenbelt Farmers Market Network and its organizers, Anne Freeman and Sara Udow. Before I left, I was able to visit Anne’s well established, highly respected market (many people I chatted with throughout the city mentioned this market to me when they found I work with public markets), the Dufferin Grove Farmers Market.
The Dufferin Grove Park is a study in itself, and deserves to be used as an example by other neighborhoods that want to be a bridge for their residents and to use their space to inspire and share. I had the great fortune (thanks to Anne Freeman) to sit down with Jutta Mason who has dedicated much of her time to the evolution of this park and its activities. I could say more nice things about Jutta, how market organizers should be so lucky to have a partner like her, but she’d just find this lionizing of her quite odd probably.
But do take some time to see the wealth of resources and activities this informal group has brought to their area:
Friends of DGP
The market itself runs year-round (take that, northerners that say it can’t be done!) and has focused on organic producers, but does have farmers that represent non-organic farming as well. A good mix of small and large vendors. The wild rice vendor is a good example of the mix of season and scale of the vendors- he was sold out for the year after I bought some of his rice and would be back to his regular work until he harvested rice next year. (He told me to throw some of his rice into the swamps down in New Orleans- I might take that idea for an old creek bed on my family property…)
In any case, this is a fantastic Thursday evening farmers market that has been around for a decade already and will be there for future generations….