Penton: Here's why Ottawa should support more local farmers’ markets

By Chris Penton, Ottawa Citizen, September 23, 2019

City staff recently cited increased local food production as one of their suggestions to Ottawa Council for the new Official Plan.

In reaction to that, I recently submitted a proposal to two general managers at the city, as well as 14 councillors. I was proposing the proliferation of small, local farmers’ markets across Ottawa in city-run parks. The councillors were a mix of urban, rural and a couple of suburban representatives.

I was asking the city to give basic support to small, privately run farmers’ markets; to allow the use of city park amenities (play structures, green space), the onsite hydro and washrooms; afford minimal storage; and maintain the park. In exchange, we would pay a small fee, set up 10 to 15 local vendor stalls, (quiet) live music and a community table for local interest groups.

(...)The environmental impacts are also worth noting. With a market around the corner, the average family is less likely to drive to a larger market. This not only reduces emissions, but gets everyone out walking and leading a healthier lifestyle. In addition, the vehicles coming in from a family farm are travelling a fraction of the distance compared to that of the large trucks, trains and boats from Montreal, California or Chile.

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