Produce doesn’t get any fresher, more nutritious, or more affordable than straight from your own garden.
That is the impetus behind a new initiative by the Assiniboine Food Security Alliance (AFSA) that will launch this weekend outside Prairie Harvest Christian Life Centre in Yorkton.
The Yorkton Gardeners’ Market will be open August 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and every subsequent Saturday, weather permitting, until the end of the season.
It is an opportunity for local gardeners to sell excess produce and for members of the community to access fresh and nutritious food at an affordable price.
“There’s lots of families who would benefit from buying from local growers,” said Lynda Dawson, one of the organizers of the Gardeners’ Market.
The goods available will be strictly produce, vegetables, fruits and possibly cut flowers.
“We’re not a farmers’ market,” Crossman said. “It’s all about providing opportunities for people to access food that might be appropriate for a healthy lifestyle.”
And it will be completely “no frills” he added. Lack of processing (even cleaning), no packaging of any kind and no permanent facility keeps prices as low as possible.
The market is also an opportunity for AFSA to promote its philosophy of developing a locally-focused, sustainable food system.
“Part of it is to show people nutritious food can be affordable,” said Warren Crossman, another of the market’s organizers. “By creating this awareness we’re hoping people will start growing their own gardens.”
Of course, not everyone has access to land where they can grow a garden. That’s where the AFSA’s other programs come into play. These include the Yorkton Community Garden, the annual Prairie Sun Seed Festival and a regional directory of producers from whom the public can buy directly.
Crossman encourages any local gardener who wants to participate in the Gardeners’ Market to register by phoning him at 306.782.3249, Lynda Dawson at 306.783.4071or emailing afsamatt...@gmail.com.
For the first weekend, this Saturday, August 17, organizers will be fairly flexible.
“It’s an idea that came up pretty quickly,” Crossman said. “Even if [growers] show up on the day, we’d accept that for the first one.”
Prairie Harvest is located at Melrose Avenue and Simpson Street. More information on the Assiniboine Food Security Alliance is available at www.afsamatters.ca.
As for whether the Gardeners’ Market will be a long-term project, Crossman is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
“If it is something people like and they want us to do it again next year, we will,” he said.