Local Food Markets [Food/Vendor]

2008 Mar 1
I came across this news item this morning:

Ottawa pushes for more local food, fewer imports at city markets

I for one hope it goes through but it seems like it's only going to be brought to the table next fall so it could be a while.

2008 Mar 1
I hope it does too. In addition to promoting local produce, it also helps balance things out for the smaller grocery stores in the city too. I know I have read comments in the paper from Isaac at the Byward Fruit Market who notes all of the overhead costs he has to pay, that these people don't have to pay.

Personally, I would prefer the markets to be limited to local produce only but if we are going to have the others there, I think it needs to be a lot clearer in the signage that they are NOT selling local produce.


2008 Mar 1
Thanks for the article info. That's fantastic news, and I have no doubt it will be passed. Also great news that the Lansdowne site of the Ottawa Farmers Market will continue for another 2 years, with Thursdays added on to the current Sunday schedule.

This has a huge impact on the ability of Ottawans to source locally, without having to drive out to farms, or have farmers do home deliveries, ie more cars & trucks off the roads.

Keep your eyes open for the start up of the Main St. Farmers Market at St. Paul's University. The local environmental committee in that neighbourhood (SLOE - Sustainable Living Ottawa East) ran a 3 weekend pilot in the fall, and are going to continue this coming season every week.

ALSO there's a newly formed "club" at Carleton U. hoping to get a market on campus or close by.... it's raining farmers' markets!!

Here's a shot of Colin Samuels of Jambican Studio Gardens. He was set up at Lansdowne Park last summer. He has the BEST tasting carrots -- but be prepared to wash off the clay soil!

2008 Mar 2
Really? I'd love to see this go through but I'm mildly skeptical. The reason why the ByWard Market is the way it is is because the City tried to do something similar (differentiate between locally produced products and non-locally produced ones) in 1995 and the Market vendors took the City to court and won. The City's been in a holding pattern ever since.

I also hope that this serves to educate people on the state of the ByWard Market and the fact that a very small percentage of the products for sale there are in fact locally produced.

2008 Mar 2
I believe the reason they won in 1995 is because the city did not have the jurisdiction over the markets. That changed in 2006 when the province gave them jurisdiction. So I don't think that can happen again.

Though I'm often wrong, of course :-)

2008 Mar 2
Sadly, no. It was more that the City didn't have the authority to determine what they could and couldn't sell. I worked for the City for two years in the office that runs the ByWard and Parkdale Markets and it had become a vacuum - I don't think anyone had ever thought that the situation was going to end up the way it has.

This article www.spcottawa.on.ca is one from the Citizen from a few years ago that really sums up the situation.

Sorry to derail the thread a bit... but I'll be really happy to see some structure come into the Market again. It was so frustrating to see mass-produced arts and crafts in the market whereas I remembered going there when I was little, back when the Arts and Crafts vendors were juried and had all kinds of fantastic products.

2008 Mar 2
On a sort of unrelated note, I visited the farmer's market in Kitchener and was totally blown away by the quality and variety of what was being sold there. From baked goods to produce to meat & seafood & cheese, and organic options for just about everything, also all clearly marked on where the produce was coming from (even the meat & seafood)... they had it all, under ONE roof. It was essentially a full service grocery store. It would be interesting to see a similar model come to Ottawa, the closest we get is Byward market, but as it's already been discussed the control over what is sold there is lax to say the least. The market in Kitchener is just on a "higher level"...

2008 Mar 3
That farmer's market in Kitchener sounds awesome. They've made attempts to carry a variety of foods at Lansdowne and the farmers market in Ottawa South but probably nowhere near as big as the one in Kitchener. I noticed on my rare visits to Byward last year that alot of people are asking the vendors now where their produce is coming from. Hopefully public pressure will prevail and they will start selling more local produce and a variety of products.

2008 Jun 30
Did anyone get down to the Byward Market this weekend? According to the Ottawa Citizen the vendors have undertaken VOLUNTARILY the Product of Origin Signs. The signage is being promoted by the Byward Market Standholders Association. This is a program where products are "stickered" in various colours to indicate their origin:

GREEN = Local <100 Km
RED = Canada
BLUE = Imported
YELLOW = Organic

The Citizen says there have been a few issues (confusion, both by vendors and consumers comprehension) in the first week, but it is a good start.

This grass-roots program is much simplier than Savour Ottawa, the more comprehensive program to be unveiled later this fall and endorsed by Ottawa City Managers. Based on what I've read Savour Ottawa is far more stringent in its application (think of it as the equivalent of a wineries VQA designation but for the food producers, restaurants and catering industries.)

2008 Jul 2
I went to the Byward Market last Sunday and must admit the stickers are a little confusing. Each vendor has the stickers listed and indicating what each colour represents. Then each item has a sign posted indicating what it is and is then labelled with the appropriate sticker. On a busy Sunday afternoon it was difficult constantly glancing between the sign that says "strawberries" with a green sticker attached then looking up to the sign saying that the green sticker indicates a local item. (I just have the green sticker stuck in my mind (so to speak) because I checked right away to see which sticker was used for local produce then made a point of looking for items with the green stickers.) I for one was happy with the old system where the vendor would place a sign behind each fruit/veggie saying "strawberries - fresh from our farm in Embrun!" or "grapes - product of U.S.A." etc.)

2008 Jul 2
Pasta Lover - I haven't had a chance to get down to the market and see it all in action, and I suppose it will take awhile to get all the kinks ironed out. But I like the idea. I think I'll remember the colours this way:

GREEN = Green Light, Greener for the Environment (ie closer)
BLUE = Boo Hoo Nothing New
YELLOW = From a Pesticide Cowardly Fellow