Local food, local connections

Happy Local Food Week! From June 3-9, The Stop is celebrating farmers and the good food that’s grown, produced, and processed in Ontario.

The Stop’s Farmers’ Market is one of our many programs that shares Ontario-grown food with our community, while acting as an important source of year-round income for local farmers.

The market also provides an incredible source of community. Anyone who’s been to a farmers’ market knows that they’re about so much more than produce. The real nourishment comes from the intricate connections markets can build between neighbours, farmers, and our food system.

Case in point: a sweet story of cross-pollination:

The Stop’s Farmers’ Market moves outside during the summer months, with many stalls set up next to our Global Roots Garden—an intergenerational program that brings newcomer youth and seniors together to exchange knowledge of gardening, environmental stewardship, cultural traditions, and healthy cooking.

Sonam (on the right in the photo above) was once a participant at the Tibetan community’s Global Roots garden, and when she left the program, she prepared a batch of delicious handmade momos using ingredients from the garden as a thank-you to Stop staff.

After encouragement from our Farmer’s Market team, Sonam was excited to share her momos more widely, and to test out her own budding business at the market. Jump forward a few months, and Sonam is now a regular vendor at our Farmers’ Market where she sells hundreds of her handmade momos every Saturday morning.

Meanwhile, Ellen Weber (on the left) and her family are also weekly fixtures at the Farmer’s Market. Their farm, Weber’s Pastured Meats, is just outside of Paisley, Ontario, and they pasture beef and some poultry.

Ellen often has hot broth for sale, which she likes to season with fresh herbs. So she recently brought a piece of root from lovage, one of her favorite herbs, to ask Sonam if she might be allowed to plant it in the Tibetan community garden to use in her broth and to share with the other vendors.

Now that that the herbs are flourishing, Ellen’s broth will have the taste of fresh lovage, and Sonam is interested in incorporating the new ingredient into her own menu. Local food, local connections!

What’s new at the The Stop’s Farmers’ Market:

In 2018, we incubated a variety of newcomer-run food businesses, hosted local arts groups and performers, welcomed grassroots campaigns like $15 and Fairness, and worked to expand shoppers’ knowledge of sustainable farming practices and build awareness of their place in the food systemexperiences that we’re working to build upon in 2019.

We’re also looking forward to facilitating many, many more unique food connections like Sonam and Ellen’s.