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Farmers markets are a longstanding staple of the Toronto food scene and local communities, providing a source for locally-grown produce and specialized ingredients across a variety of cultures and tradition. In turn, they have become an inimitable feature of the city's vibrant personality; its latest addition, a soon-to-be Afro-Caribbean market, opening July 4 in Little Jamaica, as part of an initiative to nurture and develop the area.
The project will run in partnership with the city council and the York-Eglinton BIA (Business Improvement Area) who "[represent] the 200+ businesses and property owners in the commercial district along Eglinton Avenue West between Marlee Avenue and Dufferin Street." The market will occupy the parking lot at 1531 Eglinton Avenue West, and take place every Sunday starting July 4 through to Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"While we focus on the future of Little Jamaica, [we] are working together now to transform the parking lot... into a vibrant animated food space, and cultural food hub that forms a collective platform for sharing food and exchanging food culture with the community," wrote city councillor Josh Matlow in a Twitter thread.
The market will offer produce imported directly from different parts of Africa and the Caribbean, as well as locally-curated components from existing members of the Afro-Caribbean community here in Toronto, including juices, fresh bread, desserts and handcrafted sauces and jams.
Responses from the local community have been very positive, many of whom expressed their excitement at the city's efforts to pump funding and resources into their livelihoods.
Moreover, the market will accept a special currency known as "Callaloo Cash"––a measure introduced to undercut economic boundaries for lower income families. Participating businesses have permission to buy and distribute the cash to help subsidise customer purchases in order to ensure maximum accessibility for everyone.
The market will be open every Sunday starting July 4 through to Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.