One of the more surprising bits of information we’ve received recently is the news that despite living in one of the foremost agricultural areas of the country, Chatham-Kent residents are among the lowest in consuming vegetables and fruits.
Combine that with our above average rates of cardiovascular disease, stroke, COPD, diabetes to name a few, and it’s difficult not to draw at least some parallels between poor diet and poor health.
The (so far) unanswerable question, is why?
Is it access to fresh food? Is it affordability? Is it ignorance? Laziness?
One idea which is floated whenever the subjects of what we grow and what we eat are discussed, is a farmers’ market.
We have scores of well-intentioned farmers’ markets placed throughout the downtown core over the years. Most began well and then floundered.
Part of the common knowledge on the subject is that a downtown market has never had an established, physical location. There are certainly some available sites.
Perhaps the first step would be to canvass growers to see what they want. The only way to have even a seasonal market will be to attract vendors. If interest isn’t found there, the best intentions of anyone else are irrelevant.
Proponents need to realize that vendors aren’t coming for the atmosphere; they have to be convinced there’s a market for their products.
If interest is there, the next step will be at least a one-season-long commitment. There is no point holding a market to attract customers only to find that products will be available on a hit-and-miss basis.
It’s difficult to believe that somewhere in the labyrinth of government programs there doesn’t exist some form of grant or funding which could help the project get off the ground for at least one year.
If we can get that far, perhaps we can begin to make adjustments to the statistics of which no community should be proud.