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This article was published 22/8/2016 (1178 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new market has sprouted in South Osborne with the goal of one day becoming a hub for fresh food in the city.
The South Osborne Farmers’ Market runs each Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. at 421 Mulvey Ave. behind the former Ibex building, now known as the South Osborne Xchange.
The market, a pilot project by the Farm Fresh Food Hub co-operative, features small scale regional farmers from around Manitoba producing spray-free and sustainable food.
Each week, approximately 10 vendors serve between 100 and 150 customers looking for locally sourced goods.
Vendors currently selling at the market include Peg Bagels, Rickie Blue Essentials, Prairie Sunshine Baked Goods, Natural Collective CSA, Spring Creek Farm Inc., Sweet Makers Honey Company, and more.
Katie Daman, market co-ordinator and a director with the Farm Fresh Food Hub (FFFH), said the market’s intimate feel and community support makes it easy to find basics to fill your cupboard for the week.
"This market is a lot smaller but we have tried very hard, despite its size, to get a large variety of vendors," she said. "You will not find very much duplication here and we also focused on vendors that sell what’s considered your essentials for the week — meat, bread, vegetables."
Daman said the weekly market is also the first step towards an innovative food storage, distribution and aggregation facility.
"A food hub can mean so many different things. We’ve seen it mean different things in different cities and people create their own type of food hub based on the needs of the community," Daman explained.
As part of Transition Winnipeg — a community-led initiative addressing quality of life, the local economy, climate change, social inequality, and energy prices — the FFFH will act as an intermediary between local producers and purchasers (such as restaurants) within Winnipeg by taking over aggregation, distribution and marketing from the farmer.
"It is hard for small farms to get into working with restaurants because they can’t provide the volume restaurants are looking for," Daman said. "So what we want to do is create a space with multiple farms storing their stuff here, and we would aggregate, and potentially be able to invoice restaurants with a single invoice instead of them working with multiple farms."
Most vendors currently involved in the food hub have not been involved in other markets previously and are producers who don’t necessarily have an abundance of time to commit to a market.
Jackie De Blonde of Cypress River-based Spring Creek Farm Inc. said her business is focused on the wholesale side of producing, particularly dealing with Crampton’s Market and Stella’s Café and Bakery, but taking part in the food hub will continue to open doors in Winnipeg as her operation expands.
"With more management and more people overseeing things we can branch out into different areas. We’re trying to get more people in Winnipeg to buy our products," De Blonde said.
"This also opens up the doors to restaurants in the city," she added. "It’s nice for us small farmers to get a bigger customer base in the city."
The South Osborne Farmers’ Market will continue until Oct. 12 and organizers are planning a monthly winter market for when the snow falls. For more information go to www.farmfreshfoodhub.ca
Danielle Da Silva
Community journalist — The Sou'wester
Danielle Da Silva is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org