Township council has thrown its support behind efforts to re-establish a farmers’ market in Sunderland.
Jordan Mount of Hunter Creek Farm submitted a comprehensive proposal to the Township, drawing preliminary approval from councillors at Monday (March 18) night’s meeting as they passed a motion directing staff to help get the venture off the ground this season.
“We should do everything we can to support his dream of opening a farmers’ market in Sunderland,” said Ward 5 Councillor Lynn Campbell.
“There are lots of benefits to the community as a whole,” added Ward 2 Councillor Claire Doble.
Mount spelled out many of those benefits in his submission to the municipality.
“As a small vegetable farmer and entrepreneur the biggest hurdle for the growth of business is a suitable local place to sell. With the reopening of the farmers market it will bring much more opportunity for other local business owners to market their product to the local residents. If the township is interested in attracting more tourism, the farmers’ market reopening would be a great asset to the town and surrounding businesses,” his email to the Township reads.
“The farmers’ market would attract people from neighboring communities, and travelers passing by to stop, intriguing them to visit the other local businesses in the town.
Should Mount’s efforts prove successful, the market would run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday, from the first weekend in June until the last weekend in October in the parking lot of the Sunderland Memorial Arena.
“The ideal location for the market would be the most eastern portion of the arena parking lot. This will attract local residents to shop more locally, as well as travelers commuting to and from their weekend getaways to stop in the town and share in the hospitality of the local businesses. Sunderland is one of few towns in the GTA that is located directly on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 7) making it a very high travelled area for travelers eager to experience small town charm,” his email reads.
It could feature a number of products – produce, beef, pork, cheese, crafts, preserves, handmade soaps, maple syrup and honey are among the examples the proposal provides – with a focus on locally grown and produced offerings.
“There are approximately 1,500 residents in Sunderland, who I’m sure the vast majority want to support local businesses and entrepreneurs who offer products and service that you just can’t find in big box stores. I believe that growth in a community is a good thing, when it’s in the right place. With the town growing rapidly with new homes, I believe we need to make sure that we keep their business local by giving them seasonal attractions like a farmers’ market,” the proposal reads.
“I don’t think of it as a place for vendors to make money, I think of it as a place for the community to come together and support each other, and to grow connections with who is producing the products they are using, or the food they are eating every day.”
Mount suggests that the market be run by a board of directors, including a member of township council.
“The market would not be run solely by me but by a board of directors composed of myself, other vendors, and I would like to include the local ward councillor. As well as a board of directors the vendors in the market will make up a committee, allowing them to vote on decisions about the market that will affect them,” his email reads.
“The market would be controlled in a manner that prevents vendors from selling items that they have not created or produced themselves or have been produced locally.”
He included an application package for potential vendors, as well as a code of ethics reinforcing that the market is only for products that are grown or produced locally.
“Each vendor in the market will be required to pay set fees for the use of space; these funds will go to any fees for the use of space, advertising, marketing, and a Farmers Market Ontario membership.
“Additionally any vendor who sells any produce that has been directly or indirectly brought in from any food terminal will be barred from selling at the Sunderland Farmers’ Market.”