Sunday, June 10, 2007

Toronto's New Tax-Supported EgoMarkets

Do we unquestionably accept the need for, and practices of, Toronto's new Farmers' Markets Ontario publicly funded, certified markets? Do we lose all our critical reasoning just because their publicity promotes local food and local farmers?

Do we all agree that farmers should have to open their farms, business accounts, utility bills and tax statements to intrusive FMO inspectors before they can sell their products?

To support this tax-paid, bureaucratic venture we have to agree that "third-party hucksterism runs rampant in markets set up around the city". Even resellers that sell local food are unethical according to the FMO. Do the successful, established Toronto farmers' markets feel that they are unable to control misrepresentative vendors to such a degree that we need to create a new quasi-governmental agency to inspect and certify?

In fact much of the FMO publicity is inflated. After the first Liberty Village market, the official FMO spokesman claimed that "we had about a dozen vendors". Hmmm, when I dropped by I counted no more than half that number!

This market is not MyMarket, it's not even OurMarket. It's better described as an EgoMarket for the FMO, using our money. Simply have all produce carry a 'point of origin or source' label and let the consumer decide.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know if it is such a bad idea. I live in Montreal and our "farmers markets" carry pineapples, oranges, and other exotic items that you and I know do not grow here. They also display these non-local products alongside local products and don't distinguish between the two unless specifically asked. Many consumers, unfortunately, have no idea and trust what they see and hear, and worse, what they assume. In some, or all, California farmers markets, all vendors must "offer for sale only those agricultural products they grow themselves."
I was at Jean Talon market yesterday and there were Mexican and California strawberries right next to Quebec strawberries. The imports were larger and cheaper, and more people were buying them. I wish the average shopper would be more discriminating, but the past 20 or so years have seen the industry change while we weren't looking, and only a few of us are actually aware of the situation. Until we all know what is really going on, maybe "farmers markets" should be exactly that: markets for farmers.

Nosher of the North
www.ethicurean.com

Chantal said...

That's where organizations who are branding 'local' products come in. Here in the Kawartha's, the Kawartha Choice FarmFresh stickers, signs and more are available to producers so that they can identify their products as being grown locally.

That way, when you see the strawberries at the IGA, you know which ones are local and which ones aren't.

Are there groups like that in Quebec?