Photo by brenbot via Flickr
Marché Locale, the new Concordia University farmers’ market, is set to open tomorrow, and with its opening comes delicious, locally produced food.
Guided by organizer Amy Barrington, the market will set up shop on the terrasse behind Concordia’s Hall building every Tuesday until Nov. 27 from 4–7 p.m., and local farms like Jardins de la Résistance, Lufa Farms, Action Communiterre’s collective gardens and urban agriculture organizations will offer up their produce.
Barrington says the vendors will be selling truly local produce — that is, food that has traveled fewer than 100 km — direct to consumers, with an emphasis on organic and fair-trade items. So, no middle men, and no Costa Rican pineapples.
Instead, the market will boast fruit, vegetables, cheeses, local meat, vegan spreads, veggie burgers, breads and baked goods, herbs and teas, as well as suggestions on what to do with it all should you become perplexed by kohlrabi or lemon thyme (here’s another kohlrabi suggestion, in case you’re really stumped).
Workshops, skill-sharing, artisans and musicians are also on the menu. Barrington hopes members of the Concordia community and neighbourhood residents alike will take advantage of this weekly event.
Before she hit the road for Toronto’s Urban Agriculture Summit, where she’ll learn about water management systems, rooftop gardens, food co-ops and urban agriculture policy-making, she shared her top five reasons to support local organic farmers.
1. Local, organic food is more nutritious. Because local food doesn’t have far to go to get to your tummy, it doesn’t lose as many nutrients en route. There are no preservatives in organic food, and the flavourful veggies have bright colours and are gritty with local dirt. Also, when food is produced locally, it can be picked when it’s ripe, unlike those rock-hard Mexican avocados.
2. Eating local curbs pollution. Fewer kilometres between you and your food means less traveling, which in turn means less gas being burned. But even better than countryside farming is city growing. The more food we grow using urban agriculture, the healthier and more beautiful our city — and its people — can be. I also make the effort to compost my organic food waste, too, to close the food cycle and regenerate my organic soil.
3. Going local encourages seasonal eating. Going to a grocery store in January and seeing bananas for sale isn’t an accurate reflection of what’s seasonally available to Quebecers. The truth is that wintertime in Quebec means tons of root vegetables — beets, parsnips, potatoes, carrots, turnips etc. And though you may not know what to do with three pounds of beets in the dead of winter, use your imagination! Buying local food is a good opportunity to get creative with cooking.
4. It stimulates the local economy. Community-supported agriculture is the most direct way of supporting small, organic operations, and is usually a good way of ensuring decent working conditions for those harvesting crops. I feel great knowing the farmers who produce the food I eat — it just tastes better to me. It’s a cultural experience to connect with your food and know its producers, and it’s much more pleasant than visiting a big-box grocery store.
5. Abundance! I have so many veggies I get to share with friends and family who love great food, too. Food provision in the city is changing, and the abundance of farmers’ markets, urban agriculture and CSAs are proof. Since the public consultation on urban agriculture started a few months ago, I’d like to think that more people have become aware of the same movement happening elsewhere and that Montreal can make some little changes to have more food produced in and near the city.
Concordia’s Marché Locale takes place every Tuesday from 4–7 p.m. from Aug. 21–Nov. 27 at 1455 de Maisonneuve W. For more information or to get involved with the market as a musician, vendor or volunteer, contact Amy Barrington at email@example.com.