Sun shines on ACT's first Good Food Market in their new home

·3 min read

Fresh produce took centre stage at today's Good Food Market.

This was the first of the Timmin's Anti-Hunger Coalition (ACT)'s markets to be held at their new location at 187 Cedar St. N and executive director Kelsey MacDonnell said they have big plans for their new space.

"We're going to be renovating and putting in a commercial kitchen," she said. "We have a whole warehouse, with the food bank, and we have a little section with big fridges, and we want to eventually be able to have fresh eggs, and dairy and meats at our markets."

She said that everyone is welcome to come to the markets, and it can be a great way to support the work they do in the community.

"Anyone who comes to our market," she said. "You never know if it's someone who is really struggling, or if it's someone just supporting ACT, so it reduces that stigma."

The markets happen once a week for three weeks every month, and shift locations every week from the old Daily Press building on Cedar Street, to Father Costello Drive in Schumacher, and Queen Street in Porcupine.

"We're still servicing those areas at least for the rest of this year," said MacDonnell. "There's still pockets of people who need it and Schumacher is our busiest market."

The new location was a hit for Ashley Allen who was shopping with her baby, Harlow.

"It's easy to get to," she said while picking out her produce.

The Good Food program also offers their food box program to supply fresh produce to the community.

The building on Cedar Street will eventually be a hub for social services in the area and includes office space for the United Way, and the Cochrane District Social Service Administration Board (CDSSAB), though the process of moving everyone in is still ongoing.

MacDonnell said the new space makes their services more accessible for staff and clients.

"The last space we had was a huge flight of stairs, and we could have up to 10 people and they were all in a room the size of my office," she said. "We needed this, and we needed our own space to grow."

MacDonnell said their summer programs and community gardens are starting up for the season and there is a lot of work to do.

"We've got our farm to fork program," she said. "And our gardens are a full time job."

The Farm to Fork program gives out vouchers through other organizations who deal with vulnerable members of the community, which can be used to purchase fresh produce at the Thursday market downtown, and the Mountjoy market on Saturdays.

ACT then collects the vouchers, which can be used as cash, and reimburses the farmers every week.

The community gardens have two locations, the Kidd Operations Community Gardens site, which has 86 plots; and the Rotary Community Gardens – Northern College site, consisting of 36 plots.

"Our entire mandate is to offer dignity and choice," said MacDonnell. "So that adds to someone's life."

The next market will be located on May 24 at 24 Father Costello Dr. in Schumacher from noon to 2 p.m.

More information about the ACT programs and the Good Food Markets is available on the ACT website.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,