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News 2008

News 2008

From the December 2008 Newsletter:


Market manager Anne Freeman has collaborated with photographer and long-time park friend Laura Berman to create a very fine 2009 calendar with beautiful pictures of the farmers who come to the Dufferin Grove market, on their own turf. Every page includes favorite recipes of market vendors as well, and some bits of commentary on growing and harvesting at those particular farms (or in the woods, for wild foods, or out on Georgian Bay, in the case of Akiwenzie’s Fish). The calendar, with final design by Georgie Donais, is an evocative reflection of how country meets city at Dufferin Grove Park. It’s also a market fundraiser, with the calendar costing $15 including tax. Anne Freeman says that mail orders were coming in fast ( even before the official launch at the market. Hopefully she won’t run out.

From the December 2008 Newsletter:


From market manager Anne Freeman: “Now that December is here it's also time to mention that our schedule will not be the usual this month. Since Christmas and New Year's fall on Thursdays (for the first time in our history), we've decided to hold a special TUESDAY market on December 23rd, so everyone can fill their pantries for a long holiday. After that we won't be back until January 8th, so mark this date in your calendar.” That’s the farmers’ market fundraiser calendar, of course (see page 1).

From the November 2008 Newsletter:

Dufferin Grove Farmers' Market Every Thursday 3 To 7 Pm

From market manager Anne Freeman: The third Terra Madre International Slow Food Gathering in support of small-scale, traditional, and sustainable food production took place in Turin from October 23-27, and several of our vendors participated: Colette Murphy and Pablo Reilly of Urban Harvest, Andrew and Natasha Akiwenzie of Akiwenzie's Fish & More, Michael Sacco of Chocosol, and Paula Vopni of Funguy/ Mycosource were all delegates. Pretty special bunch of producers we work with!”

Also from Anne: “Beyond the hours that the market is open, there's all the time of prep, driving, setup, packup and getting home for the vendors. Extra delays can make for a truly exhausting day. Jessie Sosnicki shared this story with me, of a day that could have ended badly: "Last night, pulling out of the park, we hit that piece of metal [access barrier that has sharp edges] and blew the front tire on the rental market truck. Pulled over right away and who came to our rescue within a minute? John, the honey man. He had a jack, popped off the blown tire, drove Ben to a service station to buy a new tire and put the new one on with equipment he had with him! In less than 1 hour we were back on the road going home. We owe him great thanks and he simply said all he wanted was "friendship". He jokes with Ben all the time when he comes to our cash box to exchange a $20 bill for smaller bills and coins and always says: "Benny, you saved my life!". So last night Ben said the same thing back to him and we all laughed! One thing for sure, he's getting a ton of our perogies for his family for one heck of a feast on us!"

From the October 2008 Newsletter:


The market has now moved up onto the rink pad for the fall – a very nice location with a village-square feeling. Market manager Anne Freeman sends out weekly market news e-mails to a list that’s grown to over five hundred people. To get on the list, go to, click on Farmers’ Market and follow the prompts.

As a sample, here is the Greenfields report for the market news of October 9: "In preparation for that much anticipated Thanksgiving dinner, our table will be full of lovely autumn fare. We have lots of Squash, including Acorn, Delicata and Sugar pie Pumpkins. Sugar pie pumpkins are great for pie as they are sweeter, have a firmer and less fibrous flesh and fewer seeds than the standard pumpkin. They also taste great baked on their own and are full of vitamin A. Also for the feast we have Rutabagas, beautiful Purple Cauliflower and Romanesco Cauliflower, Golden and Red Beets, our super sweet Carrots, and the feature item this week: Brussel Sprouts! We have 3 types of Cabbage: Green, Red and Savoy. To add to the table are Eggplant, Fennel, Celery root, Green and Red Peppers, as well as Red and White Onions. For greens, we'll bring both Green and Red Kale, as well as endive. And a treat for the Radish lover, we have Daikon and Black radish, both of which can be used raw in salads, shredded as a garnish or cooked in a variety of ways….

The Urban Farm

Click on image to enlarge it.

September 17, 5:30 p.m.
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. West, Toronto

“There is a quiet revolution stirring in our food system. It is not happening so much on the distant farms that still provide us with the majority of our food; it is happening in cities, neighborhoods and towns…It is a movement that has the potential to address a multitude of issues: economic, environmental, personal health and cultural.” – keynote speaker, Michael Ableman

Concerned with the sustainability of our food supply? Don’t miss From the Ground Up.


Photos From August 28, 2008 Farmers' Market

Click on picture to enlarge it.

$2 local and organic kids' ice cream cones have been a big hit
this summer. Best Baa (Peter and Nicole) make their ice
cream at Mapleton's Dairy and bring many flavours of both
sheep and cows' milk versions. The Moms of this contented
bunch didn't have a camera, so they suggested capturing the
moment for the market news.

It's a rainbow time of year!
These are some of Ted Thorpe's many varieties of tomatoes.

Market-goers enjoying Alexander Winfield's improv.
and a visit from The Inorganic Market this September

From the September 2008 Newsletter:


Market manager Anne Freeman sends out weekly market news e-mails to a list that’s grown to over five hundred people. It’s mostly information from farmers, about what they plant to bring, but sometimes Anne send messages of here own. Here’s one of her comments: “This week I spent some time tending to the (generally neglected) garden I plant at my folks' home in the country. Harvest time is sweet, but along with the successes there are a good measure of failures, and I always come back with questions for the farmers. What to do about squash bugs? Favourite green manures? Is it too late for my late-planted pak choi to make it? There's nothing like growing your own to make you appreciate how much knowledge goes into producing top-notch organic produce. Luckily the farmers are very patient, as I'm already thinking of more questions to add to the list....” To get on Anne’s market news list, go to the market page of and follow the prompts.


In August 2008 Newsletter

In July 2008 Newsletter

In June 2008 Newsletter

posted June 03, 2008

There's a new Photo Gallery, by Rebecca A. Pinkus!

For example:

Click on any image to enlarge it.

Fruits and Vegetables

See the entire gallery of over 50 photos: Pinkus Gallery

Older Market News 2008


In May 2008 Newsletter

In April 2008 Newsletter

From the March 2008 Newsletter

Farmers’ market story

On Friday February 22, some neighborhood farmers’ market managers were invited to City Hall to meet with city Permits staff about market policy. There were 11 city staff at the meeting and 6 market managers and assistants. At the start of the meeting, Parks supervisor Peter Leiss handed out a draft market policy that had some alarming wording. It was clear that Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market, as it is now, would be ineligible for a permit.

The market organizers at the meeting protested, but Mr.Leiss said there was no time for more meetings, that the policy was going to the Parks, Forestry and Recreation directors for approval four days hence.

There is a neighborhood market network that has been meeting at the Foodshare offices for more than a year to address various ongoing market concerns. About a year ago, when rumours came that parks staff were working on a market policy, market network members asked to be included in the discussions. They were told that some consultations would happen in due course, and one meeting took place. But the Parks policy draft presented on February 22 was written after that one meeting – and with almost no integration of recommendations from the discussion. Worse, Peter Leiss said that Parks had never agreed that there would be more times for discussion.

Market manager Anne Freeman had to work fast to let other market organizers and supporters know about this sudden development.

Anne enlisted the help of Foodshare’s director Debbie Field, and between them they contacted all the market network members, had an emergency meeting, and wrote letters to councillors, the Mayor’s office, and to Parks manager Sandy Straw.

This brought results. Councillors Joe Mihevc and Paula Fletcher met with Parks, Forestry and Recreation general manager Brenda Librecz,and agreed that the draft policy presented by Mr.Leiss would not be approved by the directors at this point. In fact, Sandy Straw said afterwards, there had never been any intention to do so at the February 22 meeting. So there will be more consultation with market organizers and market users. Hopefully a policy will be developed – with careful consideration – that enables diverse forms of markets to flourish, fitted to their local neighborhoods and to the wishes of Torontonians.


Clouds often have silver linings, and the market policy crisis was no exception. In this case, market manager Anne Freeman got some wonderful responses when she asked market users for their opinions on market issues like farmers selling their neighbours’ crops, selling lemons and bananas and mangos in wintertime, and so on. Here are some excerpts:

Alan Shisko: It seems that what the city is proposing falls into a familiar bureaucratic routine: everything is either black or white. It's all-local or nothing. This ignores the "grey scale" nature of a Canadian year-round market. Dufferin Grove has a well thought out series of guidelines that are enforced and that reflect this reality. I might suggest that instead of city-wide "rules" governing markets, council might consider supporting local oversight from an active and enabled citizenry with 'guidelines' (such as the ones that DG market uses) to suggest how one might maximize local food content while supporting local farmers. They need as much help as they can get, and I'm willing to give it to them….If food has become such a local issue, why shouldn't market regulation be considered local as well? The irony is (one might say) delicious.

Charlotte Elder: ''I strongly support the fair trade events and partnerships with producers in other countries (in the case that Ontario does not produce the items organically or at all). I wish the entire city of Toronto would become a Fair Trade City.''

Skai Leja: Certainly my exposure to local produce has increased thanks to the market, but I am not opposed to having access to non-local produce in the winter months when the range of local food is very limited. …I fear if vendors were restricted to only local produce sales over the winter months the market would crumble away for a significant part of the year, and have a harder time restarting every spring, as local produce gradually reappears. I think the vendors strike a good balance between promoting their own food and supplementing just enough to make the shopping satisfyingly comprehensive.

Chrissy Spencer: ''I am fairly uninformed on local policy, but I do firmly believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Toronto has amazing markets in this thoroughly urban setting…. I do want to know where my food comes from, how it was grown or raised, and I love meeting the people that tend the food and bring it to me in the city. If vendors are transparent in how they market their products, then I don't see a problem with them selling not-as-local items or bringing their favourite products from other sellers to my local market…..It's a long haul for a farmer to transport items into the GTA. If a farming community decides to send one person in to sell products from several area farms, that is sustainability and cooperation as its best. If we instead legislate that each must sell his own, then we've increased the carbon footprint of each item being sold.''


I want to ask you, our regular, involved customers, how you feel about the role of the market in your community and your food choices. In particular, I'm wondering what your views are on how the market works in the park setting, and the way we have chosen to include some non-local foods in our market even though it is primarily a local-boosting one. If you're not familiar with our guidelines, they're available to read on the market page:Vendor Guidelines

Has your own awareness, access to and consumption of local foods grown because of the market?

Would we be better off with city-wide rules (as the parks department has proposed) that farmers could not sell anything from other farms or anything non-local?

Any comments on what you think a city-wide policy about markets in parks should say? Write to Anne at:

posted January 30, 2008

Remarks From Guelph Organic Conference Public Forum

Click on picture to enlarge it
Guelph Organic Conference Public Forum: "Organic, Fair Trade, Local: All of the Above or None of the Above?"

A Brief Introduction from the Farmers' Market Perspective - by Anne Freeman

The farmers' market at Dufferin Grove has been around for five years. Not that long, but already it feels like the world has shifted a lot in relation to the issues around local, organic and fair-trade food.

Five years ago, "eating local" wasn't being talked about very much; far too little, in fact. Organic, however, was much more in the air, so when Jutta Mason found local farmers who could bring a strong selection of organic foods to our neighbourhood, it captured quite a bit of interest.

Some of our early customers were already fans of these farmers from Riverdale Market, or people who missed the little organic market that used to run on Markham Street, but many were meeting local farmers for the first time. Gaining some understanding of how they farm, and the farmers' challenges, certification among them (I should mention here that not all of our farms are certified, particularly some of the small meat and cheese producers) has been a great learning opportunity. Along with enjoying the warmth coming from the wood-fired ovens--our special heart--gradually more and more people got excited about supporting the farmers, and other farmers and many city-based food producers asked to participate. It's been great to see how people come together around food.



In January 2008 Newsletter-]''

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