Farmers' Markets Ontario - Come for the freshness... Stay for the fun Farmers' Markets Ontario

The History of Farmers' Markets Ontario®

It would be nice to be able to say "we planned it this way". It would be nice to be able to say "these were our objectives from the beginning, and we have made a lot of progress in reaching them". It would be nice . . . but it wouldn't be true. Farmers' Markets Ontario® has grown, like a young tree in a thicket, twisting its way toward living-space and sunlight, in unforseen directions.
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01-Apr-07. "Food Safety Matters at Farmers' Markets".

April 2007 - FMO Board members and FMO friends across the province provided the leadership in organizing “Food Safety Matters at Farmers’ Markets” workshops. Most sessions featured an FMO-sponsored dinner; an assortment of attendance draws and everyone received a “Food Safety Matters at Farmers’ Markets” T-shirt. Over 500 farmers’ market leaders, managers and vendors participated.

21-Feb-07. 17th Annual FMO Networking Symposium & AGM.

February 21 & 22, 2007 - 17th Annual FMO Networking Symposium & AGM held in concert with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention and Trade Show. The Convention theme was “Profit Through Knowledge”. There were 1,200 convention participants including at least 125 farmers’ market leaders, managers and vendors. FMO’s two-day program was action-packed but the two sessions which attracted the most attention were our FISH! Philosophy session with Cali Beals from Iowa and the roll-out of our special 2007 “Food Safety Matters at Farmers’ Markets” program.

13-Apr-06. Project GREEN.

FMO submitted a $1,724.500 funding application to The Greenbelt Foundation. “Project GREEN” would provide a variety of funds to our 46 member Farmers’ Markets in the Greenbelt area...including advertising and promotion; signage; four “Town & Country”-produced videos; tarps/canopies; tables and benches; various farmers’ market equipment; 4 new/rejuvenated “green Farmers’ Markets” in the City of Toronto; various workshops and more!  Received approval in June 2006 for 3 years.

15-Feb-06. 16th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM.

16th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM held in concert with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention & Trade Show. Over 1,100 delegates for the main convention...FMO attracted crowds of up to 90 people during two-day sessions. 2006 Convention theme “Learning, Sharing, Growing” submitted by Catherine Clark. World-renowned speaker, Barry Siskind’s presentation “Dare to be Different” was hugely popular. The session on Food Safety Guidelines attracted much attention. Barbara Lovitt, Iowa Department of Agriculture was a featured speaker.

21-Sep-05. Major Market Research.

Fall 2005 - Major Market Research conducted in partnership with 12 Farmers’ Markets. 3,066 shoppers interviewed. AgriFood Consultant, James Farrar, Jayeff Partners engaged for the project.

01-Apr-05. FMO and OMAF Memorandum of Understanding.

Spring 2005 - The strong partnership between FMO and OMAF continued. The six year Memorandum of Understanding negotiated in 1999 was renewed for three more years.

16-Feb-05. 15th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM.

February 16 & 17, 2005 - 15th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM held in concert with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention and Trade Show. FMO was not a Trade Show exhibitor, for budgetary reasons. Over 1,000 attended the main convention...50-80 Farmers’ Market leaders, managers and vendors attended the two days of FMO sessions. Topics included "Risk Management and Pets"; "Food Safety"; "Producer-based Markets...are we gaining or losing ground?"; a "Managers’ Forum" and a two hour "Model Farmers’ Market" presentation from Philip Powell and Robert Chorney. That session was later modified and converted to a Workshop Series entitled "Sharing the Harvest" and it was offered across Ontario during the week of April 25 to 29... at Ottawa (Bells Corners/Nepean); Peterborough; Cambridge; Orillia and Sudbury. Over 250 Farmers’ Market leaders, managers and vendors participated, at a cost of $10 each.

01-Feb-05. First-Ever Canadian "How-To" Book Released.

February 2005 - The first-ever Canadian "How-To" book for Market leaders, managers and vendors was released by Farmers’ Markets Ontario. This 175 page book entitled "Sharing the Harvest" - How to Build Farmers’ Markets & How Farmers’ Markets Build Community! was co-authored by Mary Ann Colihan, London, Ont. and FMO Executive Director, Robert T. Chorney. Selling price $19.95 plus gst and shipping. Over 100 copies of the 500 printed were sold almost immediately. Complimentary copies were sent to some 50 friends of FMO.

18-Feb-04. 14th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM.

February 18 & 19, 2004 - 14th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM held at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ont., again in concert with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention and Trade Show. FMO was a Trade Show exhibitor. About 1,000 registrants at the Convention...some 70 at the FMO sessions. Topics included "Rules & Regulations That Work"; "The Magic of Special Events" and more.

01-Jun-03. FMO Launchs "Project TEAM"....Train, Expand, Ally, Market.

Summer 2003 - FMO launched "Project TEAM"....Train, Expand, Ally, Market. The main program elements were:

  1. Focus on Food Safety
  2. Market and Merchandising Equipment
  3. Market Leadership Development
  4. Marketing Initiatives to increase sales, and
  5. Direct Marketer (farmer-vendor) Related Initiatives.

The Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association partnered with FMO and the $824,004 initiative was funded at a 66.6% level by the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing’s Rural Economic Development Program, Ontario Small Town & Rural Development Initiative (OSTAR-RED). Government funding totalled $549,611 with FMO’s portion at $431,000 and OFFMA’s at $118,000. The project was originally scheduled to run from summer 2003 to December 31, 2004, however, an extension was granted and the new program deadline changed to December 31, 2005.

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