As part of its mission to “promote equitable access to healthy food,” the Junction Farmers Market has raised more than $7,000 so far toward its voucher program this year.
Organizers did so through the second annual night market, which was held Saturday, July 12 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Junction train platform on Dundas Street West, at Pacific Avenue.
Comprised of local food, craft beer and Ontario wine, the evening attracted as many as 2,000 visitors.
Participating vendors prepared food favourites from the weekly Junction Farmers Market while there were offerings from local Junction restaurants, craft breweries and Ontario wineries.
“It was an overwhelming success,” Chris Ganowski, president of the Junction Farmers Market Board of Directors, told The Villager. “It was even bigger with more vendors this year.”
The $7,000 total fundraising effort was a conservative estimate, Ganowski said. The voucher program was developed by the farmers market board as part of its mission. One of the board members works at Four Villages Community Health Centre and helped to facilitate a partnership between the two organizations, he said.
Through public and private donations, the farmers market has built up a fund for the vouchers. On market day each Saturday, recipients of the vouchers are able to purchase healthy food.
“It’s a win-win,” Ganowski said. “Vendors get more business while people get food.”
Voucher recipients are selected through those who participate in Four Village’s nutrition programs and conversations with dietitians. Twenty-five-dollar vouchers are distributed by staff.
“You can get enough vegetables to feed a small family for the week,” Ganowski said.
This is the second year the Junction Farmers Market has raised money through its night market for the voucher program. Last year, it split the funds with The Stop Community Food Centre. The Stop does a similar event at Honest Ed’s, Ganowski said.
“It was the inspiration. They’re an organization we admire,” he said. “They helped us with the promotion of our event.”
At the end of the year, the Junction Farmers Market, a volunteer organization, takes whatever surplus funds it has and donates it to organizations that are doing similar work.
The Junction Farmers Market’s mission is to provide “local, sustainably produced fresh foods in ways that build community, support local food growers and producers, and promote access to healthy food for all.”
It accepts donations every Saturday on an ongoing basis.
“The season is progressing. There are lots of things being harvested,” Ganowski said.
The weekly market boasts more than 20 vendors with 18 setting up shop each week.
For further details, visit junctionmarket.ca