Local farmers in need of community support
Vendors accumulated $73,000 in legal fees during their battle to stay at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market
By Kaitlynn Anderson
A group of farmers who sell fresh food and artisanal products at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market are asking for the public’s support.
In December, the market board threatened to evict seven producers who campaigned for increased transparency among the market’s vendors, according to a CBC article.
Several months prior to this event, CBC News revealed in a Marketplace investigation that some vendors in Ontario farmers’ markets resold wholesale goods they claimed to be their own.
After seeing the concern of consumers who purchased this food, several vendors – including the seven who received eviction notices – displayed “banners at their stands to let consumers know that their offerings were harvested locally or made from products cultivated locally,” the CBC article stated.
However, the market’s board of directors said the actions of these vendors had “a negative impact on the reputation of the market” and violated the code of ethics, the article said.
So, the board sent a notice to the market’s vendors asking them to attend a meeting on Jan. 8 to vote to evict the seven farmers from the establishment.
Immediately, these seven vendors started the No Pink Slip Campaign, a petition asking the directors for permission to continue selling products at the market. A total of 19,300 people signed this petition, according to a statement the farmers provided to Farms.com on Friday.
And the vendors witnessed a victory. The board granted six of the seven producers approval to stay at the market.
“With (the public’s) remarkable support we were able to … preserve our rights to sell at the market, at least for the time being,” the farmers stated. “We will continue to advocate for better governance, transparency (and) integrity in food source labelling, and (for) more community involvement in the direction of the market.”
However, throughout the process, the Peterborough-area farmers accumulated a total of $76,000 in legal fees. The group has raised some funds to help with these costs but it still faces a bill of $63,000.
Individuals who would like to donate funds to help with these fees can do so through this GoFundMe page.
“We need our community's support now more than ever,” the farmers said. “Please keep coming to the market. Please remain allies in our struggle to protect local food, … to make the best possible market and (to) save this important community asset.”
FatCamera / Getty Images / E+ photo