By Elizabeth Ann Keenan
Local farmers markets have been enjoying resurgence as of late as we become more conscious of environmental, sustainability, and health matters. Montrealers are no exception to that trend, and have been turning to local markets to answers those needs. These markets have been a long-standing tradition in Montreal, from the large-scale Jean Talon and Atwater markets, to the many smaller markets all over town, including the “Solidarity” markets that can be found at the entrances to many of our city’s metro stations; some of which are even open 24 hours for all your 3 a.m. produce needs!
Joining Montréal’s vibrant local market scene is the weekly McGill Farmers’ Market, which can be found every Thursday, smack dab downtown on McTavish Street in the heart of McGill University campus. I had the good fortune to stumble across it one beautiful afternoon this summer for its inaugural summer season. The market team consists of only four individuals bringing all this local goodness together.
I had the pleasure of chatting with both Claire Kingston (finance coordinator) and Kelvin Mansaray (market co-coordinator) in person while visiting the market. Zoe Garyfalakis (market co-coordinator) and Monica Allaby (promotions and outreach coordinator) round out this years team who have made their mark through expanding McGill’s market season by launching their first summer season market.
The market was first conceptualized in 2008 at McGill’s annual Rethink conference, which focuses on local and campus environmental and sustainability issues. It was very quickly brought into reality the following year with their inaugural fall season. More than simply a collection of stalls offering fresh local produce and products, the market is the distribution point for “field to table” style weekly produce boxes, as well a hub of other grassroots & food security projects and partnerships loosely coordinated through McGill’s sustainability office.
But the stalls! Those are what really bring us to the market! Local growers are nestled in side by side with local producers of jams, baked goods, beverages and even tasty ready-to-eat snacks and meals, all of whom are focused on keeping the environment and sustainability at the heart.
Looking for more information? Check out the following:
The official McGill farmers market website includes a listing of their vendors, information about their weekly produce boxes, and opportunities to get involved and volunteer.
The McGill Rethink Conference website, where the McGill farmers market was born.
And finally, the link to the official Montreal Markets website to help you expand your exploration of Montreal’s vibrant local market scene.
Lead photo © Jardins Carya. All other photos by the author.