June 26, 2024

Celebrating Public Markets Week 2024

Public Markets Week 2024 was a blast! 🚀✨

This June 16-22 we came together with market pals from all four corners of the city to celebrate these special places and the people who make them happen.

ICYMI (in case you missed it), learn about our Community Markets Support (CMS) program and see highlights from the week below.


Markets by community, for community

At FoodShare we proudly collaborate with a network of over 50 community-led markets across Toronto to bring fresh, diverse produce to more than 70,000 people each year. Each market is totally unique and tailored to meet its neighbourhood’s needs — shaped by the community, for the community.

In addition to increasing access to high quality, culturally relevant produce and other local delicacies, markets act as a place-making tool bringing residents together with engaging activities, information booths, artisanal vendors and harvest celebrations.

Public markets are vital third spaces that have a significant impact on a city’s culture, food access and well being. They provide important food justice infrastructure for their communities.


An action plan for community markets

Despite the value these markets provide, the folks making them happen face increasing challenges including inflation, rising costs of food and resources, issues with accessibility, lack of funding and coordinator burnout.

With these concerns in mind, Fateha Hossain – FoodShare’s Community Markets Support Facilitator – joined other market advocates in deputing before Toronto City Council to call for the development of a community market action plan back in 2023. The item was adopted without amendments or debate and the much-needed action plan is now in development! In collaboration with local organizations and partners, the MarketCityTO team will be leading this work.


FoodShare’s role in community markets

Our wonderful colleagues Fateha, Mireya and Muna — the CMS team at FoodShare — work with local leaders across the city to make the community markets program possible.

These vibrant markets are driven by community leaders, who handle the day-to-day duties and operation of the market. On the other hand, the CMS team’s role is to build coordinators’ capacity, providing training and resources to grow the impact of the market network from Etobicoke to Scarborough. FoodShare also offers produce subsidies, as well as delivering fresh produce sourced as much as possible from local growers and racialized folks.


A few fantastic markets to check out…

Mustard Seed Market

Operated by Fontbonne Ministries in tandem with a meal program, the Mustard Seed team works hard to increase access to delicious, fresh and affordable food in their community. Whenever it’s available they make a point of bringing in seasonal Ontario produce including customer favourites like peaches and strawberries 🍑 🍓

🍏 Visit the Mustard Seed Market on Wednesdays from 2-4pm at 791 Queen St E.


David’s Market

Many of the markets we partner with are organized by volunteers, people like Jessie, an incredible Scarborough resident who designed a market for seniors, by seniors. What started off as a pilot project is now entering its third year. The newly renamed David’s Market (in honour of one of the market’s first volunteers who passed away in 2023) not only makes buying fresh food easier but brings together folks from the community who might otherwise feel isolated and create intergenerational connections by having youth help with packing, carrying and door-to-door delivery for those who need it.

🍏 Visit David’s Market on the first Wednesday of each month from 1-3pm at 828 Kingston Rd.


Flemo Farm

Flemo is just one wonderful example of a market that is creating connections in the community and increasing access to diverse, affordable and local food. This vibrant half-acre urban farm is situated in a hydro corridor, converting under-utilized green space into a thriving food-growing haven for its equally vibrant community.

A collaboration between FoodShare and the Flemingdon Health Centre, Flemo Farm is guided by an incredible steering committee made up of members of the local area to help develop the farm into a sustainable, community-owned space.

Between the 10 community farmers who grow and harvest food at the farm and sell it at the weekly onsite market, the countless volunteers from the neighbourhood who spend their time helping out to support the farm and the staff who work on the farm, Flemo is truly an important site for connection and a unique spot in the community.

🍏 Visit the Flemo Farm Farmers’ Market every Thursday from 3-6pm at 150 Grenbole Drive (right beside the farm!).


Stonegate Market

Operated by Stonegate Community Health Centre, the Stonegate Market prioritizes serving seniors and families, working to make the market accessible with ample seating. Their focus is on improving the health outcomes for customers and patients who attend the market, and they’re filling a crucial gap in food security in their neighbourhood for folks who can’t regularly access transit or travel long distances.

🍏 Visit Stonegate Market on Thursdays from 12-3pm at 10 Neighbourhood Lane, #201.


UTSC Market

The University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) Market is operated by the university, which hires work study students to run the market each season. The market has been running for the last 15 years, showcasing the best offerings of local produce and community vendors who run the gambit of being local bakers, farmers, artisanal producers of hot sauce and honey and more — a favourite summertime spot in the neighbourhood!

🍏 Visit the UTSC Market on June 13, July 18, August 8, or September 12 from 12-5pm at Scarborough Circle, 1265 Military Trail.


Celebrate & support markets all year long

Thank you so much for following along with us for Public Markets Week 2024.

Don’t forget: community markets exist all year-round. Even if they are not in their operating season, market coordinators still have to plan, prepare and budget for the season ahead.

So, let’s continue celebrating and supporting community markets all year! 🥳

💚 Learn more about our Community Markets Support program at foodshare.net/markets
💚 Find your local market with the new Toronto Public Markets Interactive Map at marketcityto.org/map
💚 Make a donation to support community-led markets at foodshare.net/support-markets