It is scheduled to open in June
By Diego Flammini
A group of Ontario growers ousted from a local farmers market plan to open a new one next month.
Five growers recently lost their spots at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market after they spoke out about a lack of transparency at the market more than a year ago. Now, the farmers are laying the foundation for a new entity.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Julie Fleming, a fruit and vegetable producer from Millbrook, Ont., told Farms.com today. “We are going to elect members to a whole new board and bring a new market to Peterborough.”
Customers were buying produce under the impression it was locally produced when, in reality, some vendors were reselling the products. The farmers’ concerns led to a CBC investigation in 2017.
Then, in January, Astrid Manske, a honey producer from Indian River, Ont. successfully defended herself in front of the Peterborough & District Farmers’ Market Association (PDFMA) before receiving an eviction notice on Apr. 24.
The new market will be run by the Peterborough Regional Farmers Network (PRFN) instead of the PDFMA.
Joining the new market gives producers a chance to distance themselves from the situation at the existing market, Fleming said.
“We decided to take our energy and put it into something positive instead of tiring ourselves out with everything going on at the other market,” she said.
The community has also played a large part in the development of the new farmers market.
The public has flooded social media with messages of support and positivity. Those messages show farmers that people care where their food comes from, Fleming said.
“Like us, the community has been outraged at what’s going on,” she said. “A lot of people have been encouraging us to start a new market.”
Fleming and the PRFN hope to open the new market next month.
Many businesses have reached out and offered spaces for the market to set up, Fleming said.
PRFN is inviting producers to be part of the new venture and hopes to have a location finalized within the next few weeks, she added.
Julia Fleming/Ben Wolfe photo