I want to share some big news with you. The Sorauren Park Farmers’ Market will have its grand opening for the year on May 18th at 3 PM on the newly built Town Square. The market runs every Monday from 3 PM – to 7 PM. I hope to see you there.
We should all be proud. Over the last four years we have worked hard on a community design process and a fundraising campaign to make the Town Square available to the Farmers’ Market, community movie nights, and more. If you have an idea for a community event, let me know. You can reach me at email@example.com or via telephone at 416-392-7919.
As a big supporter of the co-op movement and the Farmers’ Market I was concerned to learn that the move is having some growing pains.
It won’t surprise you that the City has more demands on its green space than it can meet. As a result, the staff who manage our parks have a permitting system in place to make sure that people have equal and fair access. One feature of the permitting system is that we try to minimize uses which have a high impact and would diminish other uses. From experience we know that uses like farmers’ markets can compact soil, destroy sod, and diminish the quality of the park. This is especially important for Sorauren Park. As you know the concrete slab that sits under the park makes drainage a serious problem and extra care needs to be taken to protect the park. Wherever possible, the City moves higher impact uses off grass and green space.
When the West End Food Co-op approached the City several years ago with the idea of a farmers’ market in Sorauren Park, City staff were concerned about the damage it would do. I worked with the Co-op and staff to develop a protocol that would allow the Co-op to operate the market.
In 2011- 13 we worked as a community to design and find funding for the Town Square. The Co-op was part of that process. We as a community came up with some great ideas to tie the Square, the famers market, the field house and the future community centre together.
When the Square opened, we worked with the Co-op to develop a transition plan to move the market to the Square. The staff person of the Co-op had direct phone and on-site meetings with City staff and my staff to plan the transition.
Now, after making that agreement the Co-op want to change it. I have offered to work with the Co-op to address any operational issues they have on the Square. I am committed to that. However, after working with the whole community and spending a lot of public and fundraised money to make the Town Square available to the market and other uses, it would be wrong to go back to the more damaging option of putting the market on the grassy area.
I look forward to hearing your ideas on how you see the Town Square being animated. Don’t forget, the Farmers’ Market runs every Monday from 3 PM to 7 PM. Hope to see you there.