Growing the community

Backyard gardeners welcomed to the market

SAGE exists to  help our local food economy get back on its feet. That means doing all we can to help more people get established in sustainable agriculture and supporting their enterprises by building demand for their produce.

But SAGE also exists to encourage more people to grow their own food in their backyards, even if it’s just a few herbs in a pot. Growing your own food is just as important as buying local food. Not only is it deeply satisfying to eat something you grew, but it builds our community’s resilience by reducing our collective dependence on trucking in food and by increasing local knowledge about how to grow food in our locality.

Growing food in your backyard can build community ties too. More often than not, a backyard garden will produce a lot more than you can consume yourself. Sharing excess food with friends and neighbours is an act of community, dating back eons and spanning all cultures. This is called building social capital — strengthening bonds and connections with the people who live around you that, in turn, make a stronger, more united community.

Our area is lucky to have a wealth of backyard gardeners who produce copious quanities of fresh, nutritious fruit and vegetables. SAGE has discovered that some of these growers, who we have affectionately dubbed “backyarders”, would like the opportunity to sell their excess produce at the market.

These backyarders are not growing on a commercial scale, but have too much to give away and don’t want to see it wasted. And frankly, neither do we. But the farmers market is a commercial operation, meaning there are costs to stall holders of a commercial nature. These costs are prohibitive to backyarders, as they don’t have sufficient quantities of produce to sell to cover the costs.

So we are pleased to announce that the SFM Committee has devised a system whereby backyarders have an opportunity to sell their excess produce at the farmers market. Now, the market is primarily a commercial operation where an increasing number of people make a substantial part of their income, so backyarders will have to agree to a bunch of rules, just as our commercial growers do. However, these rules have been modified to suit a non-commercial grower.

For more information, go to our Backyarders page.

The SFM Committee is really excited about our new scheme and we can’t wait to see what amazing produce our backyarders can supply.

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