One farmer's response to CBC Marketplace segment 'People are being duped': CBC exposes homegrown lies at farmers markets

Farmers Markets Local

Martin's Sweet Farm booth at Rockwood Farmers' Market

Last week at market, we heard a few folks talking about the new CBC Marketplace segment that exposed vendors at Farmers' Markets across Ontario who were caught lying about where their produce comes from, suggesting they were the grower/producer when in fact they were not. Misleading the public is dishonest and shows a lack of personal integrity and respect for your customers, who deserve to know what they are buying and where it's coming from. So, shame on you.

As a fellow vendor at a number of Farmers' Markets, we expect you to do better. We expect you to come to market, sell your goods, and tell the truth every time. You read that right -- I said sell your goods. The Marketplace segment raises an important question around the role of resellers at Farmers' Markets. It's a sensitive topic, even between vendors.

While it might sound great to think every vendor was also the producer, and that they were all local (however you define local), it's not very sustainable. You see, most markets need resellers at the market. We need their big booths with lots of different products to bring diversity to the market, to ensure our shoppers can get a good chunk of their weekly groceries at the market, to keep them coming back week after week.

And, lots of farmers -- the real farmers that grow and produce their goods on their own land -- resell other products from a neighbours farm. By doing so, they help get another local farmer's goods to market, increase their product offering and make it more viable for them to earn a living off their market sales. While I do think market organizer's should favour grower producers and ensure good representation from local farms if possible, the ultimate power lies in the hands of the consumer and where they spend their dollars. Ask lots of questions about what they grow/produce and how, get to know your farmers -- heck, you can likely even visit their farms. In fact, we look forward to welcoming you to Martin's Sweet Farm.

If you missed the article, you can find it here.

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  • Susanne Preuss

    While it might be true that you need a lot of variety at farmers markets for customers to come back, there is also another side of local farming to consider. Nowadays customers expect that every product is available at all times. Which is, in case of regional and seasonal, impossible. Seasonal means in Winter there are only winter veggies available like cabbage, carrots, leeks or friuts that store like apples, but no strawberries or cucumbers.
    People have forgotten when there was a time for every fruit or vegetable. June for cherries, May for asparagus, July for strawberries, Fall for apples, Spring fir the first fresh herbs. One anticipated the time when a certain food was available.
    Now with globalization we can have strawberries and tomatoes for Christmas and everything is imported. Maybe we can rethink our eating habits and eat seasonal by buying local.

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