Thanksgiving in is a time of reflection on the many blessings we have received. Working with so many talented people during the operation of the Kerr Village Farmers Market has given all of us many reasons to be thankful. We’re thankful for the farmers and producers who have been part of our market, for our loyal market visitors who have come each week to listen to the music, enjoy breakfast or lunch, and shopped for farm fresh, locally grown Ontario produce.
Our mandate this season, through a program with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food was to raise awareness for locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables. We were asked to improve on the ways we could bring fresh, local produce to communities like Kerr Village.
The Kerr Village Farmer’s Market and the Kerr Village BIA, worked as a team, and have had measurable success. Bringing together incredible opportunities to provide the venue and the audience for Ontario and locally grown products. By forming a partnership with The Kerr Village BIA, the Town of Oakville and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, a repeatable model has been developed. This model shows how local farmers markets can operate profitably; while raising awareness for the farmers themselves, through a proven co-op methodology. The Kerr Village Farmers Market has brought education, community and fresh, seasonal local produce to Kerr Village, forming alliances and joint ventures with truly measurable results.
The Kerr Village Farmers Market team has increased consumer awareness for locally grown Ontario foods, Marketing Boards, Farmers, Growers and Manufacturers. This initiative has increased consumers purchasing, not only directly from the Farmer’s Market, but also through the visitors who are visit local community restaurants that are serving products grown in Ontario.
The final Kerr Village Farmer’s Market day was held on Thanksgiving weekend and was an impromptu homecoming for our summer students and volunteers. Not only were we blessed with excellent weather, we also got a surprise visit from John Prada and Sean Robins, two of our University Students who were interns with us for the summer. They provided both the brains and the brawn required to operate a successful Farmers Market. It was using the skills of young people like these two; that gave us the unique opportunity we had to develop a strategy that could be measured, monitored and duplicated. It was invigorating to recall all the exciting moments from this past summer, when the entire team contributed to building a successful venture here in Kerr Village.
Considering this was our final Farmers Market for the season, there was no lack of organized events, professional performers and abundance of seasonal produce. Through the relationships we built this summer we were able to provide Strawberries (Dayberries) right up until the end of September and we were one of a handful of markets that had freshly picked local Ontario Corn thanks to Andrews Scenic Acres. We even had a special treat for the kids with a visit from Cathy Nesbitt of www.cathyscomposters.com.
Cathy Nesbitt, Canada’s “Worm Woman” is on a mission to show kids how her worms can save the environment. She had kids build their own worm bins, creating a friendly environment for the worms to do what they do best – Eat garbage! The Region of Halton also supplied composters for some of the lucky kids to collect food for their new worm farm.
It has been a fantastic year for the promotion of eating local farm produce. We have seen our attendance grow each week and we have developed a loyal following of consumers who have come to rely on the Kerr Village Farmers Market to bring them a variety of locally produced, farm fresh, fruits and vegetables.
The 2010 Kerr Village Farmers Market has been a tremendous success and we look forward to continuing to build on the strength and experience we have achieved this year.
The Kerr Village Farmer’s Market has done something incredibly unique; they have built a repeatable team model that includes all levels of the food chain.
A copy of the report detailing our Survey results, a Co-operative Farmers Market System, and the Social Media Strategy used to build awareness and to drive consumers, producers and community partners to the Kerr Village Farmers Market is available upon request. Please contact the Kerr Village BIA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 905-849-8865 for your copy.