St Michael’s Hospital Provides a "Market" for Local Food


When you think of a farmers’ market you might picture a mix of tents and tables in the centre of town, with farmers busy setting up their stalls in the predawn hours of a Saturday morning. Or perhaps you might envision a big historical building like Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market, filled with vendors who have been there for years.

But what if you could buy fresh, local Ontario food at the hospital?

It almost seems like a match made in heaven: finding the freshest food at a place where people go to get well and healthy. This exact philosophy is what propels St. Michael’s Hospital. As part of their 2013 Local Food Challenge project, for one day this past summer and again in October, they set up a market for staff and visitors to sample hospital chefs’ local seasonal specials and to purchase some of those same ingredients to take home. Both days were hugely successful—just look at the before and after photos! A visitor survey revealed that 99 per cent of attendees loved the fresh market and would attend again. Market days provide an opportunity for people to make the connection between local farmers and food with the cities they feed. And, with pop-up markets like this one at St. Michael’s Hospital, they also show how the Broader Public sector can make local work every day.

Applications are now being accepted for the Local Food Challenge 2014. Please visit for full details.

- Kelly Hughes, Education and Outreach Specialist, Greenbelt Fund

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