The Lakefield Farmers’ Market was founded as a community initiative spearheaded by Judy Hyland and Susan Chan. The founders' vision was to strengthen the infrastructure critical to local food security in Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield.
We began by talking to the existing players in the local food distribution system: farmers, food merchants, municipal politicians, municipal economic development officers, and interested community members. These discussions helped us to identify the priorities, opportunities, and obstacles facing the establishment of a farmers' market in Lakefield and helped forge the direction the new market would take.
Immediately it was clear that the priority for the community was to build a market that exclusively featured locally grown and produced goods in an accessible, friendly setting.
We have been able to achieve that goal with the help of Farmers’ Markets Ontario’s MyPick program. Each one of our agricultural vendors has been inspected by a MyPick inspector who is qualified to verify that the farmer is producing the goods s/he sells at market. Our craft vendors have been juried for quality and, whenever possible, local, natural, or re-claimed materials have been used. Our prepared food vendors are health inspected and are required to demonstrate use of local agricultural ingredients.
We are blessed in Lakefield with a sparkling river, extensive trails, and spacious parks. Our market has taken advantage of this inspiring setting and added local products, fun, and service to the natural beauty of our location.
Since the beginning of the market, we have collaborated with the Lakefield Local Harvest. A project of Laurie Collette of Natural Events, proceeds from this locally-sourced and chef-prepared community meal provided the seed money to get the Lakefield Farmers' Market up and running in our first year. Other community partners that gave of their time, offered suggestions, shared resources or gave moral support include: Township of Smith-Ennismore-Lakefield, East Kawartha Chamber of Commerce, GPAEDC, The Lakefield Herald, Blue Chair Designs, Grass Roots Design, Lakefield Historical Society, Lakefield Trail Committee, the Lakefield merchants, and a host of individuals too numerous to name, all of whom are much appreciated.
These community efforts have helped to strengthen the communication between all the folks in our neighbourhood. Together we are building our community, developing our local economy and contributing to our environmental sustainability.