Seven local farmers and food producers — McLean Berry Farm, Circle Organic, Otonabee Apiary, Ashburnham Farms Gaelic Garlic, Finest Gourmet Fudge, Chef Marshal, and Necessitea Elixir — have learned they may be ousted from the Peterborough Farmers’ Market at Morrow Park.
Just before Christmas, the board of directors of the Peterborough and District Farmers’ Market Association issued a special notice to its members that a meeting would be held on Monday, January 8th at Morrow Park, proposing a motion to terminate the membership of the seven vendors.
The notice claims the seven vendors have exhibited “behaviour that is detrimental to the corporation” including “disruptive behaviour at the market”, “inappropriate and aggressive conduct towards individual vendors at the market”, and making “false and disparaging statements about the market and its operations, governance and members”.
The seven businesses in question have been vocal about the issue of resellers — vendors who purchase wholesale fruits and vegetables from places such as the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto and then resell it at the market for a profit — and have criticized the market board for how it has handled the issue.
Earlier this fall, a CBC Marketplace investigation also found that some vendors at farmers’ market vendors purposely misrepresent their wares as locally grown or produced. During its investigation, Marketplace identified two resellers at the Peterborough Farmers’ Market who made misleading claims about their products.
The seven vendors whose membership faces termination are organizing a rally for 10 a.m. on Friday, December 29th in Confederation Park, across from City Hall in downtown Peterborough.
An online petition #NoPinkSlips – Stop Farmers from being kicked out of the PTBO Saturday Farmers’ Market has been signed by more than 4,000 people as of the time of this story.
“Our farm is under attack….and we need your help,” writes McLean Berry Farm on its Facebook page. “We don’t understand why our livelihood as a local farm who has been selling at the market for the last 27 years is suddenly in jeopardy. We don’t understand why speaking up and asking for openness, transparency, fairness and honesty has turned into wanting to remove us from the market.”