Horton Farmer's Market Approved by St. Thomas City Council

Mayor Joe Preston, Councillor's Joan Rymal, Mark Tinlin, Gary Clarke, Jeff Kohler, Lori Baldwin-Sands, and 2019 Market Manager Vicki Asher at the 2019 Horton Farmers' Market Canada Day Celebrations.

Monday evening, St. Thomas City Councillors voted unanimously to accept the new proposal from the board of the Horton Street Farmers' Market. Unfortunately, due to audio issues we were unable to hear the debate or hear all the details on how the new plan differs from the previous one. It's great to hear that the new plan was approved however, and kudos go out to the Horton Street Farmers' Market Board for getting it done.

The revised plan was not included in City Council's minutes, so on Sunday (June 7th) we reached out to City Councillor Lori Baldwin-Sands as she is also the Chair of the Horton Street Farmers' Market Board to find out all the details on what was changed so we can share that and are waiting to hear back from her.

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UPDATE: Councillor Lori Baldwin-Sands contacted us this morning to fill in the rest of the details. While the main building will be closed, the washrooms will remain open and there will be two volunteers on hand to alternate between washroom cleaning. The normal vendor-customer relationship has been reversed; vendors will be on the inside of the pavilions and the customers on the outside. Volunteers will also be on hand to make sure there are only 78 people underneath the awnings of the pavilions at any one time to follow the guidelines laid out by Southwestern Public Health.

There will only be food vendors for now, but the market manager could change that at a future date. The market manager will be responsible for ensuring the Horton Farmers' Markets status as a farmers market and that social distancing will be maintained between the vendors themselves.

Also, the city will supply an area that embraces and wraps around the market square itself using construction barriers. This will provide physical distancing so customers will have only one way in and one way out of the market. No by-passing will be allowed, and volunteers will be on hand to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

The market is planning to be ready for a June 20th opening date.

Essential services are what will be maintained at the market at this time. The hope is that only one person from each household will come, if more than one member from a household comes they will be asked to social distance by 6 feet while at the market. This is so the connection between our community members and the growers can be maintained.
"It is also my hope that the vendors and customers come back to the market after this disruption, because the vendors and our customers are so important to our local economy and the health of our community. These are healthy sustainable initiatives that get food directly to the citizens. Healthy food is very important and knowing who grows it, and how and why they grow it, is important and lets keep that connection - because customers take years to build and seconds to lose.

I know that everyone will be excited about having the market open, but if you’re excited to chat under an umbrella with you’re friends we’ve had to take that away. We’re going back to our primary purpose of providing a food source." - Councillor Lori Baldwin-Sands
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Mayor Joe Preston did bring us up to speed on some of the elements during the Live Mayor's Update Monday evening as well. Don't forget to tune in for our show on Facebook Live after City Council meets each week for coverage of what was discussed at Council each week.


Notes from our discussion with Mayor Joe Preston: It looks like the market might open up in a couple of weeks, if that's what the vendors want to do - so stay tuned for details. There will be, of course, distancing and safety measures in place. Instead of 4 or 5 volunteers in place there are now many. Road barriers will be used on site for dealing with the lines (since the council saw how well the market went at Wildflowers Farm this past Friday). When you go, as the sole representative of your household, look for the new flow of things at the Market. One big difference is that the inside of the Market will be closed.

If all goes well, the Horton Farmers' Market will be open before Canada Day. 

Comments

  1. This media outlet is Censored and Politically Bias . Joe Preston Fan Club.
    If you ask about there Ethics they will just block you.
    Letting the public down to ensure Joe Preston and his Business WENDY'S is involved with city politics ..
    And this Unethical Media outlet plays a Biased role to deceive the public.

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