by Rosemary Tayler
The Ottawa Good Food Box and Centretown Community Health Centre are collaborating with Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden (at Bronson and Laurier Avenue West) to offer two pilot markets this summer. The community garden is hosting these markets, one on Saturday, July 28, and one on Saturday, August 25, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Anti-Poverty/Hunger Project, which includes representatives from community health centres across the city, is collaborating with the Good Food Box Program to bring fresh, affordable produce to neighbourhoods where they might not be available and where farmers’ markets are not viable because sales are too low to cover farmers’ costs.
Fresh vegetables and fruit will be brought in through the Good Food Box program and made available under a canopied stall set up in a small parking lot across from 570 Laurier Avenue W. Free lemonade, cookies, raffle, face painting and live music will also be featured in conjunction with these market times.
Christina Marchant, Director of Community Health Promotion and Early Years for the Health Centre, commented, “We are encouraging the neighbourhood to come out, buy fresh vegetables and fruit and meet neighbours. Good Food Markets are community-driven markets that sell top quality, affordable produce. We think that this project will build community, help feed families, and increase our overall level of health.”
The Good Food Market at Nanny Goat Hill is one of four pilot markets across the city. The other sites are Michele Heights, Rochester Heights and Sandy Hill.
Natasha Beaudin, the Good Food Box Coordinator stated, “This summer there will be two market events at each of the four sites with the intention of learning from this experience. We are grateful to be working with Ottawa Public Health, and other departments of the City of Ottawa to make these markets happen. We anticipate we will achieve our goals of enlivening the communities in which the markets are held, helping to bring healthy, fresh affordable food into neighbourhoods, and informing everyone about our Good Food Box Program.”
A unique feature of the Good Food Market at Nanny Goat Hill is that it is accessible by bike or bus and by foot. There will be parking for bikes but not for cars. Instead, this market will reach out to the 3,000 people living in town houses, homes, housing co-ops and high rises within the surrounding three- or four-block radius of the community garden.
Diane Holmes, councillor for Somerset West, pointed out: “I am delighted that cars are not the major method of transportation to this market. The community building that goes on at such a local level is a vital and sometimes forgotten aspect in Centretown. Somerset West Ward houses people with diverse cultural, economic and educational backgrounds. This diversity is a benefit to everyone and allows for a valued testing location for this Good Food Market concept.”
For more information on the Good Food Box program, go to www.OttawaGoodFoodBox.ca