"Pay What You Can" markets set to return
The running dates for 2023 Community Harvest Markets have been announced, with the first of many markets throughout the season slated for June 13.
The markets, running since 2013, provide an option for affordable, locally grown produce in three different locations in the city.
This year will serve as the debut for a third market behind Centre 70 on Days Rd, choosing to add a location on the west end after hearing that part of the city is a bit underserved and that there's not a lot of food access programs.
The market adopts a "Pay What You Can" model on a sliding scale from $0-5, trying to ensure that anyone who wants access to locally grown produce isn't restricted by the cost.
Community Harvest Coordinator Marie Bencze, says while this market has always been a great asset for the community, it is especially needed with rapidly rising costs.
"You see endless news articles about the cost of everything right now and especially food," Bencze said.
"We think this is an especially important time for people. That disparity between wealthy and poor people is ever growing."
The markets are run by Loving Spoonful and the majority of the food available is coming from Loving Spoonful gardens, often the gardens right on site of the markets.
Bencze says all the gardens use agro-ecological principles, nearing organic without official organic certification.
While market attendees can expect common staples to be available week to week as well as some seasonal offerings from local farms, there will also be some produce available that's far less common to Canadian consumers, especially affordably.
The market will carry traditional fruits and vegetables from different cultures and regions of the world, giving newcomers a chance to access a taste of home without having to spend too much.
While the affordable sliding scale is a huge selling point for many of the markets' attendees, Bencze says some are happy to pay the full price and just love the opportunity to have a farmer's market right in their community.
"Some people who do come are paying full price for everything," Bencze said.
"But they're still very grateful to have the access to the local food that's grown right outside their door in their own neighbourhood."
Markets will be held every Tuesday from 3-6 at Kingston Community Health Centres on Weller Ave, every Thursday at the Calvin Park Library Branch from 3-6, and both Tuesday and Thursday behind Centre 70 on Days Rd from 3-6.
The first markets will be held June 13 and they will run on a weekly basis through October 12.
Owen Fullerton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, YGK News