About us

Led by the heart and the head

From the beginning, Withrow Park Farmers’ Market has been managed by local residents wanting to enhance their community, support local organic farmers and food producers, and make it easier for shoppers to access fantastic food. The market’s first season was in 2006. It has been well-supported and well-loved since then.


Eleanor Belais (Treasurer), Lanrick Bennett Jr., Janet Robins, Estelle Taylor (Chair), Mary Vallis, and Benetta Yogendran (Secretary)


Chantal Stepa


Melissa Serafino


Lauren Harvey, Janet Robins (Chair), Meg Shannon, Anastasia Sudetic, and Stacey Waspe


Estelle Taylor and Lanrick Bennett Jr.


Eleanor Belais (Chair) and Estelle Taylor

Estelle Taylor – A committed city person, Estelle nonetheless has enduring connections to farming, with grandparents who farmed and relatives who still do. Estelle helped to start a farmers’ market in Vancouver and moved to Zambia for a while to support small-scale farmers there. She claims she herself is able to grow tomatoes but none of us are yet convinced. linkedin.com/in/estelletaylor/

Mary Vallis Cowan is a journalist, educator and entrepreneur. For her, the market represents a place to bring people together, build social capital and showcase creativity. She is particularly fond of watermelon radishes.

Meg Shannon is a writer, communicator, and proud Riverdale resident. Volunteering with the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market is a way for her to connect with her neighbourhood and help create the wonderful sense of community that is one of her favourite parts of living in this part of Toronto. She tends not to choose favourites, but she particularly enjoys parsnips and puts garlic in everything she can.

Benetta Yogendran is a senior project manager with 8 years of experience in project management, consulting, and CPG operations. She is currently pursuing her MBA at Queen’s Smith School of Business. For her the market presents an opportunity to be part of a community and use her project management experience to contribute to its success and growth. She enjoys gardening and spends countless hours with her mom growing vegetables and flowers. Her favourite local vegetable is corn, she gets excited every summer waiting to get her hands on locally grown corn! 

Melissa Serafino is a masters student at the University of Toronto, studying the impacts of the global food supply chain on people and the environment. Her academics have worked as the foundation for her passion for working towards a more sustainable future. The Withrow Park Farmers Market provides a space where alternative food futures can be imagined and where communities can come together to grow local food movements. Her favourite local fruits are cherries and strawberries because her sweet tooth cannot resist delicious pies!



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