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Expanded farmers market to kick off fourth year
Organizers push for compostable containers, utensils; space expands to grass outside city hall to limit congestion

Joseph Tunney
Northern News Services
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Yellowknife Farmers Market is set to return June 7 and chairperson France Benoit says this year is going to be bigger than ever.

"There are lots of new vendors this year," Benoit said. "Probably between 40 and 45 vendors (total)."

She said all these vendors, excluding one, will be from Yellowknife.

One of the biggest changes in store for the market, which will happen every Tuesday evening until Sept. 20, is that it is going to take up all of the grassy area around city hall instead of just the walkway.

Because of the larger space the market has, Benoit said there will be less congestion than in previous years and people will have three entrances into the market.

On top of this, Benoit said the market, which will serve ready-to-eat meals, is pushing for a waste-reduction project where all the containers and utensils used by vendors must be compostable.

"Our goal is to collaborate and partner with the municipal waste program," Benoit said.

Benoit is not just the market's chairperson - she's also a vendor. She said having the fourth annual farmers market is important to her on a personal level.

"It's a place of exchange where we can exchange goods," Benoit said. "It's also a place of ideas and community exchange."

Each year the market grows and Benoit said because of that growth and because the market can engage new vendors each year, it's a community-wide success.

But for her, the market is just as much about the education it promotes.

She said the vendors are learning about marketing food, food distribution and food safety, which creates a type of institutional memory for the community.

Benoit, for instance, taught herself to can food.

She said this is vital for a community where this kind of knowledge skipped one or two generations, ever since the highway to the south opened up.

"I care about the food security of all Yellowknifers and I see the market as one of many solutions to tackling food security," Benoit said. "We're all relearning how to cook and bake in large volumes."

"Many of us are relearning skills our forefathers had."

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