Public input sought to revive farmers' market

Gary Kean
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[Corner Brook, NL] —Katie Temple is sure there’s an appetite to revive the West Coast Farmers’ Market in Corner Brook, (Newfoundland & Labrador) and would like to see the community help plant the seeds of its rebirth.

The weekly summertime market was a pilot project of the Western Environment Centre, but went into dormancy last summer when resources dried up and a new approach needed to be developed.

Besides project funding, one of the main reasons it was no longer viable was because some vendors wanted the market to be housed at an indoor location rather than exposed to the elements as it was before on the Majestic Lawn.

Last September, Temple availed of some funding made available through Memorial University’s Harris Centre to do an evaluation of the market.

From that research, which she presented publicly last fall, Temple realized there is still plenty of interest in the community and among vendors in a revamped market.

Since then, a working group — with representation from the City of Corner Brook and the province’s Forestry and Agrifoods Agency — has been put together to brainstorm on how to redevelop the idea.

The group is planning to have a public “visioning session” in mid-March to help get more ideas about how to accomplish a healthy return for the farmers’ market.

“We want to hear from anybody interested in the market,” said Temple. “We want to know how do you envision a farmers’ market in Corner Brook? Where would it be? Who would be there? What would you like to buy there?”

The working group is also hoping to secure some funding to do a business plan for the farmers’ market and to implement that strategy.

The group is working closely with the City of Corner Brook because that might help identify what spaces are available to situate the market. The hope is to identify a space that has a both an indoor space — with access to washrooms and ample electricity — and an outdoor area for vendors who want to be outside on nice days and where families can enjoy the full market experience.

Space where people can sample food, both indoors or out, would be a welcome amenity.

The location doesn’t have to be fancy, but Temple said finding the right space is the biggest challenge of restarting the farmers’ market.

“I’m sure that an ideal space exists somewhere in Corner Brook and we can make it happen,” she said. “It’s really only a matter of putting people’s heads together and thinking about where it can work.”

The exact date and location of next month’s public meeting have yet to be confirmed, but Temple said it will likely be on a Friday in mid-March.

The Western Star

Organizations: Western Environment Centre, Harris Centre, Forestry and Agrifoods Agency

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Western Star

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