Although 65 percent of Canadians live in the 30 largest urban areas in Canada, there is a growing trend both of going back to the farm and, in the city, supporting those who farm through buying produce.
Farmers markets have everything from kale, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, bok choy, and asparagus to tomatoes and much more. Nova Scotia has the highest number of farmers’ markets per capita in Canada. There are more than 1500 producers and more than 40 markets across the province and this growing movement is encouraged by the provincial government, which wants to see 20 percent of food consumption sourced provincially by 2020.
Halifax has several year-round farmers’ markets, and a new one opening right now in the North End of the city. In the summer several farmers’ markets spring up on weekends in parks and even on hospital grounds.
The South Shore and Annapolis Valley are home to half the farmers’ markets in the province. The Wolfville Farmers’ Market is a perennial favorite of urbanites, perhaps because it is in the center of the agricultural heartland of Eastern Canada where wine tasting, craft breweries, and u-picks are found around every corner.
The Lunenburg Farmers’ Market and new Bridgewater Farmers’ Market are well supported by their local communities, in spite of having endured the fallout of the winter of 2015, a winter of biblical proportions.
All vegetable producers in Nova Scotia are, in fact, faced with late planting this spring because of that winter and many farms are dealing with severely damaged infrastructure—collapsed barns and greenhouses due to astronomical snow loads and roadside fences crushed and, in some cases, just now emerging from dirty heaps of snow.
Yet for city dwellers in Nova Scotia and elsewhere, farmers’ markets flourish for at least three reasons: it’s the freshest produce; it’s a way to support local economies; and it is an opportunity for urbanites to connect with rural communities. And the vendors seem to enjoy sharing the ups and downs of farm life and delight in seeing the return of faithful customers.
Furthermore, when consumers express interest in both the products of the farm and the farms and farmers themselves, it strengthens investment in our mutual local food responsibility.
Check out Waylon’s interview with Joel Salatin!
Author: Linda Lewis
Editor: Renee Picard
Image: elephant journal