We hope you are well. Like you, we at the Withrow Park Farmers’ Market have had our lives hugely disrupted by COVID-19 — both as individual board members and staff and as an organization.

But we are working hard to find a way to connect farmers and food vendors with our community this season and are writing today to update you on our progress.

With the signs of spring poking out of the ground and blossoming, this is usually when we start getting excited about the farmers’ market season. Bright leafy greens, garlic scapes, rhubarb, and the first strawberries of the year are some of the delights we’re anxiously awaiting. Instead, this year our thoughts have had to turn to alternative venues, logistics, new operational models, and different ways of working.

While farmers’ markets are considered essential businesses under the latest Provincial Government Order, we cannot operate without a location. And right now we don’t have one. The City has not issued a permit for us — or anyone — to operate in a city park until at least early July. While we are continuing the process to open in the park a bit later than normal, we are also pursuing other options to allow for a June start.

We recognize more than ever the importance of supporting our farmers, food producers, and our local food system while providing a safe environment for our community to access fresh foods. So we are searching for different locations, and imagining different operating models so that we can arrive at a safe, public health approved way of keeping the market going this season.

It’s a fact: good food brings people together. And as such, many farmers’ markets have evolved into vibrant community hubs. However, farmers’ markets are not simply ‘events’, they are food distribution models — providing a direct connection between farmers and eaters.

We remain deeply committed to creating a marketplace for our local farmers and food vendors. We are working alongside other farmers’ markets, community groups, and local businesses to find a positive solution for this year, and we are preparing to meet any recommendations set out by Toronto Public Health in order for us to operate safely.

We will work through whatever the next few weeks and months bring and keep you updated on what’s to come. We truly appreciate your continued support!

In the meantime, we’ve made a list of our vendors offering delivery, pickup, and other purchasing options, which can be found HERE.

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