City Life

A Growing Trend

We are blessed to live in a city in such close proximity to the countryside, and doubly blessed that our countryside contains the best farmland in Canada.

By Jason Leach
Published June 07, 2007

A growing trend in Ontario and right across Canada is seeing local farmers setting up shop back in our major cities in order to allow city dwellers the opportunity to buy fresh, local food.

As was predicted several years ago, the whole concept of "organic" is being tainted (some would say, destroyed) at places like Walmart. I've long believed that it is better to buy local instead of something "organic" flown in from Peru.

In both Hamilton and Toronto, several new markets are now operating with food from local farms. A recent Toronto Star article highlights this growing trend in that city.

In Hamilton, the successful Plan B Organic market at St Cuthbert's Church in Westdale has found a winter home at the Bread and Roses Café on King William Street.

The Westdale location operates from June to October, and the downtown location operates from November to May.

Of course, at York and MacNab the Hamilton Farmers Market operates year-round with a great selection of local produce, meats and baked goods.

In its May issue, H Magazine reports that a new market is beginning operation in June on James North. On the third Saturday of each month from June to September, the fine folks from Simpler Thyme (email) will take part in the Makers Market in front of Christs Church Cathedral.

This will be a great addition to this already colourful, market-filled stretch of James North. And it's literally around the corner from the Farmers Market.

A very popular market in Hamilton is the Centre Mall Farmers Market. It operates year-round behind mall and is home to several local farmers. Many in the community are holding out hope that the upcoming renovation to the Centre Mall will result in a neat little marketplace for these stallholders to call home.

For more information on local markets in and around the city, check out Environment Hamilton's local food directory.

For those looking to do a little urban growing themselves, I can personally recommend the following as being ridiculously easy to grow in a backyard plot of land, or containers for those with no land (such as myself).

This summer we're expanding our offerings and trying cucumbers and mixed green lettuce for the first time. There is something fabulous about heading out back before dinner, picking your own food and eating it a few minutes later.

We are blessed to live in a city in such close proximity to the countryside, and doubly blessed that our countryside contains the best farmland in Canada.

I never thought preparing food could be so much fun and healthy! Try it this summer, in your own yard as well as from the local farmers who work so hard to feed us.

Bon Appetit!

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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