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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. Support the market and make a donation today!

VISION: A local sustainable economy that strengthens community connection and environmental stewardship.

MISSION: To be a well-run, financially secure and community-supported group that provides a platform for environmental and community initiatives, built around an inclusive farmers’ market of ecological farmers, food artisans and artists.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Eleanor Belais (Treasurer), Kathryn Ellis, Mary Fragedakis, Janet Robins, Jessica Sonberg, Estelle Taylor (Chair) and Mary Vallis.

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE

Kathryn Ellis, Lauren Harvey, Janet Robins (Chair) and Stacey Waspe

POLICY COMMITTEE

Estelle Taylor (Chair)

FINANCE COMMITTEE

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.

Janet Robins

Janet is an environmental consultant specializing in the design of waste diversion programs and policies for municipal and First Nation clients. Her love of nature and the need to foster a sustainable environment has resulted in her involvement at Withrow Market and its commitment to local sustainable agriculture and zero waste. She is also known as ‘Ms. Doolittle’ in the neighbourhood with her fondness for rescuing dogs, cats, hedgehogs, turtles, etc. While an enthusiastic gardener, Janet has had little success growing vegetables and relies on the market to supply her with tasty foods including raspberries, peaches, salad ingredients and prepared foods from the vendors.

Mary Fragedakis

Mary is a local economic development professional with extensive experience in both the private and public sector. A former Toronto City Councillor that championed the food justice movement at City Hall and advocated for a sustainable, inclusive, resilient and diverse food system that improves health, nutrition, food security, economic development and environmental sustainability. Mary also served as a member of the Golden Horseshoe Food & Farming Alliance and advanced an urban perspective on the importance of the greenbelt in providing environmental benefits to the living city.

Mary Vallis Cowan

Mary 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.

Chantal Stepa

Chantal has been eating, living and loving local as the Manager of Withrow Park Farmers’ Market since 2016. Summer after summer Chantal has worked with community members and volunteers to transform an empty park field into a vibrant and bustling community hub. She’s inspired to create spaces that promote sustainability, well-being and good food! Grounded in environmental stewardship and sustainability she has always intertwined those principles into her professional work. Chantal enjoys gardening, travelling and exploring new places, hikes in the forest, clothing swaps, supporting the circular economy and cuddling with cute animals. She can’t get enough of haskap berries, ground cherries and juicy peaches! 

Eleanor Belais, Jessica Sonberg, Kathryn Ellis.

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