Green City

Draft Farmers' Market Stallholder Selection Criteria

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 15, 2010

With 26 fewer stalls in the renovated Hamilton Farmers' Market, City staff have prepared selection criteria for vendors applying (and reapplying) for a stall once the Market moves into the renovated space.

The selection criteria are still at the draft stage, and must be approved by the Emergency & Community Services Committee and Council. The criteria identify four categories of stallholders:

Applications from vendors will be evaluated according to the following points system. Space in the market will be allocated based on score.

Baseline Points
Criterion Points
Complete Application 25
Local Hamilton Farmer 30
Local Hamilton Producer 20
Local Hamilton Handcraft 20
100 Mile Farmer 25
100 Mile Producer 15
Certified Organic 10
Certified My.Pick.ca 10
Previous Market Experience 5

The following additional points apply to farm stallholders:

Additional Points for Farm Stallholders
Criterion Points
90% First Quality Product 10
In excess of 75% First Quality Produce 5
Diversity of Fresh Product up to 20
Capacity to produce quantities required up to 15
Commitment to the Market (open all market days) up to 10
Attractive display up to 10
Food Trend Product ie heirloom vegetables, organic up to 10

The following additional points apply to other stallholders:

Additional Points for Other Stallholders
Criterion Points
90% First Quality Product 10
In excess of 75% First Quality Produce 5
Diversity of Product Mix up to 20
Capacity to produce quantities required up to 15
Commitment to the Market (open all market days) up to 10
Attractive display up to 10
Food Trend Product ie gluten-free, green product up to 10

The following additional points apply to artisan stallholders:

Additional Points for Artisan Stallholders
Criterion Points
Clarity of artists'/craftsperson's process and supporting documents up to 10
Art or craft to be made by hand or fabricated by the individual up to 10
The work demonstrates knowledge, ability and talent up to 10
Degree of innovative expression up to 10
Original idea / skillful rendering of a traditional or classic design up to 10
Does the product demonstrate a high calibre of artistic work? up to 10
Is the work of a high level of merit? up to 10
Are the materials appropriate and integral to the final product? up to 10

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

17 Comments

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By lettie (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:41:42

I would like to see more local farmers and butchers and cheese people as well as artisans in the market. Too many stall holders just go to the Ontario Food Terminal and pick up stuff like the grocery stores. I hope the new market really reflects at least seasonally the 100 mile radius idea.

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By thompsmr (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:57:20

While the 100-mile number makes sense from a local-economy perspective (which is great), there's some interesting work that shows that local isnt always the "greenest/eco" option.

a good start: http://www.grist.org/article/food-fight-...

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 10:57:51

Just curious why 100 mile? Why not 160 km?

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By thompsmr (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:12:07

the impact of the food system on the environment is messy, complex and hard to understand at times.

instead, we chose nice round numbers and feel good about ourselves and our ethical consumer decisions.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:17:19

they had better not lose the best coffee bean supplier in the city, the Colombian stall!!

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:38:39

Seconded, jason! Her French roast is excellent, and the price is very competitive.

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By Undustrial (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 11:53:43

If we focus our food choices on any one factor in isolation we miss the point. Organic, local, vegan, low-in-trans-fats, etc. The only way we're going to end up with better food is to consider all aspects, not just crusade about one of them.

The whole local vs. organic debate is a bit of a joke as far as any serious food activist I know sees things. The organics movement in the Hamilton area is driven almost entirely by local farmers and gardeners. And while many do import food, it's often through personal connections to similar operations elsewhere. No supermarket I know of can claim this.

The kind of personal connections forged at markets is a very important part of this process.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:18:33

I like the focus on artisans, which could bring a more interesting experience to market goers. I am worried however that most local artists could not afford a full time stall.

It might be interesting to create a special artisan area where one could rent a very small space with its own roll down gate - so that artists could spend much less than full stall prices and not have to be there during full business hours.

Either way, I am really looking forward to seeing the new market

Comment edited by seancb on 2010-09-15 11:19:51

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:31:23

I am worried however that most local artists could not afford a full time stall.

Can you say 'artisan co-op'? Artists could pool their money to pay for a stall and take turns operating it.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 15, 2010 at 22:23:41

I'd hate to see my favourite, originally-from-Italy Italian lady's (I know I should say woman, but somehow, "Italian woman" doesn't really describe her) cheese stall get the boot because of these criteria.

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By Andrea (registered) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 07:04:09

That was my first reaction when I originally read the article about the fewer stalls. But my mind was at ease when I saw this in the criteria: 'Other Stallholders selling compatible products - like fish, cheese and spices - that promote the broad purpose of the Market;'

Before I lose all faith I am going to trust that there will be a fair process implemented by the City. With the state of Jackson Square it would make sense for Yale to get on board and make some provisions for some additional market-style vendors located in proximity to the new market.

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By Sarah Virginia (anonymous) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 09:38:04

I agree with the above in general but also wish to point out the value of having some OTF-type vendors and lower grade produce available for the many market patrons who cannot afford to buy local, organic or specialty items. I was chatting with a farmer and very long-term stall holder just last week who was making this point as well. I see many people at the market buying up the heavily discounted produce. My grocery store doesn't keep older or bruised produce around, so I go to the market to buy old bananas for banana bread.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 10:17:55

Sarah, I agree 100%. We don't want to get rid of all the OTF vendors. Just limit how many we need in one market.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 11:32:20

Eminently jukeable. Bottle some inedible slop you’re 20-35 points richer. Make some sock monkeys as well and you’ve bagged another 20-35.

Should be interesting to see how much genuinely organic product merits no "organic" points because it hasn't been officially certified as such. And also what steps market management will take to stop anyone with a magic marker from labelling their products organic, with no proof of such and only the vaguest provenance.

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By adrian (registered) | Posted September 16, 2010 at 23:26:49

I do agree that an overall goal of focusing on local farmers, artisans, etc., is important, but the idea of culling the stall owners by using the market renovation as an excuse and developing a set of criteria that is intended to accomplish this leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Let's face it: this will affect minorities most of all. I feel really bad for the extended Asian families that will likely be affected by these new rules.

Regardless of our overall goals for the market and what it ought to offer, let's not forget that livelihoods will be damaged or destroyed by these changes and families will suffer as a result.

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By Fred Street (anonymous) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 03:38:02

@ adrian: "the idea of culling the stall owners by using the market renovation as an excuse and developing a set of criteria that is intended to accomplish this leaves a bad taste in my mouth."

Yeah, it kind of reeks of constructive dismissal. Then again, the market has always been intensely political – and sometimes tense to the point of backstabbing, territory grabs and fisticuffs.

You could also kind of see this coming from the reno renderings and all that generous amounts of space to meander with your life partner or make aimless small talk about lifestyle choices while lounging on Verner Panton chairs.

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By lettie (registered) | Posted September 17, 2010 at 13:58:18

The market needs a variety of healthy food, that is the intent, fresh farm food supporting local farmers, (fresh and nutrient rich food doesn't have to be transported over long distances and picked under ripe from over pesticided farms) The market can sell lots of healthy organic foods too, and specialty foods, spices, coffees etc. There are just too many stall holders heading down the highway to the Ontario Food Terminal picking up what we can buy at the grocery store. Our market was originally meant to be a farmers market for the region and it just grew into other things. Let's support local farmers, butchers and area agricultural jobs etc. Not a cattle ranch in Texas, etc.

Comment edited by lettie on 2010-09-17 12:59:24

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