Stackt market


Spearheaded by area locals Matt Rubinoff and Tyler Keenan, Stackt Market will transform the lot of a former smelting plant that has stood vacant since 2014 into a multipurpose public space, with the majority of the expected 130 containers devoted to pop-up retail space. The rest of the stacked volumes will be open to cultural, arts and events programming. It’s a temporary endeavor – Rubinoff and Keenan have a two-and-a-half-year lease to use the 9,290-square-metre plot of land before future plans of turning it into a park get started – but one that promises to breathe new life into a neglected area of the city.

They’re offering companies and organizations flexible lease lengths and adjustable spaces, such that “anchor tenants” who have agreed to stay for the whole two-and-a-half year period will exist alongside a constantly evolving ecosystem of pop-up shops, service providers, and brands.

Market 707 at Dundas and Bathurst Sts. is already using shipping containers to house small businesses just south of Toronto Western Hospital.



As some of you know, I believe that the era of mission-driven farmers markets has just begun and that how we view our work needs to expand to help the farmers and buyers that we work with. In that mindset, we should begin to examine the idea of public markets entirely devoted to restaurant/grocer (then wholesale) sales of local goods, curated with the same intention and mission by those of us that currently manage retail farmers markets.
In order to do that, we should learn from wholesale terminals such as this one in Canada. I found a couple of things within this article about the Ontario Terminal fascinating. My notes are in italics.

In less than 40 seconds, DiLiso has placed his order: cabbage, cipollini onions, bean sprouts and bok choy. Na enters the data on a hand-held digital device then, with a mutual nod, moves on to another client, leaving DiLiso to gather up his vegetables.
That’s how deals are done at The Ontario Food Terminal, the giant U-shaped building on 16 hectares off the Queensway in west Toronto: friendly, no-nonsense, fast.

(Notice the ability to enter sales on a hand held device?)


DiLiso and his small crew criss-cross the market to find sellers they trust who have the best deals on vegetables.
“It’s all about relationships,” DiLiso says.

(I dunno- it sounds like it is as much about price?)

Ontario Terminal story

Nine Meals Away from Anarchy

My brilliant colleague Wayne Roberts adds some thought-provoking ideas to the New Year. Now I understand how the four systems of food: production, logistics, nature and cities could be the cause (any or all of them) of a serious crisis and a real panic. So once again, how can markets and direct marketing farmers work to ensure a safe (uninterrupted) food supply?

Nine Meals Away from Anarchy – Environment – Utne Reader.

Report Season is upon us

I visualize many of you working long hours this week gathering data to finish end of year reports-as your faithful food system friend who is also working close to her candle on reports, I salute you.
Maybe we need grant report songs to keep us focused and get us in the mood of writing them just like holiday songs?
(Jingle Bells tune)
grant reports, grant reports
writing all the way
oh what fun it is to think
of ways to explain and say.

However, it does put me on the road of thinking about evaluation and ways to share information. We all know about qualitative and quantitative measurement, but let’s dig even deeper if we can, when we can. What was the transformation that came from our work? Is there a way to illustrate success with a picture or a snippet of an audio interview? Maybe a field plowed and ready for planting? A quote from a new shopper or a farmer who learned a new skill?

Recently, I ran across these evaluation pages from Community Food Centres Canada which are quite simple, engaging and yet useful. Here’s one:

Community Action

Take a look at how they describe evaluation too:
Evaluation page

Growing For Markets article on Toronto’s World Crop Project

I heard about this wonderful collaboration when I was there in April working with the Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network. I decided to do an article to share it with the U.S., so where better than Growing For Markets? You’ll need a subscription to get full access, but you’ll thank me for this magazine if you do….

MY GFM article on World Crops