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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18-Feb-03. 13th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM.

February 18 & 19, 2003 - 13th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM held at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ont. in concert with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Convention & Trade Show (OFVC). OFVC is a partnership of the Niagara Peninsula Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and Horticultural Crops Ontario (the successor to OHCC...Ontario Horticultural Crops Conference). Over 900 participants. FMO participated as a Trade Show exhibitor. Sixty (60) Farmers’ Market leaders, managers and vendors participated in the FMO sessions.

15-Feb-02. 12th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM.

February 15 & 16, 2002 - 12th Annual FMO Networking Symposium/AGM held at Radisson Hotel, Mississauga, Ont. A Friday evening and all day Saturday event. Conference theme: "Let’s IMPACT in 2002". The main thrust of the sessions revolved around our Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture 2001-2002 funding program entitled "Project IMPACT". The symposium offering to members was generous...hotel accommodation; breakfast and luncheon; refreshment breaks; conference materials and a special 2002 FMO calculator all for the low price of $49. Foodland Ontario sponsored the luncheon. Fifty (50) people attended.

14-Jan-02. Progress North Toronto 2002.

January 14-20, 2002 - FMO collaborated with Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and the North American Direct Marketing Association in staging "Progress North Toronto 2002"...the annual conference and trade show of the North American Direct Marketing Association. FMO handled the Farmers’ Market pre-conference bus tour (about 20 people); the one-day Farmers’ Market Workshop and the two days of Speaker Sessions. The Workshop had a core group of 47 participants and the six speaker sessions attracted a total of 398 people or an average of 67 per session. Over 1,000 Direct Marketers from across North America participated in this annual event, usually held in the United States. The next Canadian hosts will be Alberta in 2007

01-Jun-01. FMO launched "Project IMPACT".

Summer 2001 - FMO launched "Project IMPACT"...Innovative Market Partners Attracting Consumers Together. The project, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s Healthy Futures initiative was approved for $995,000 at a 70% funding level. By the time the project ended in May 2003, FMO and its partners had elevated the programming to $1,080,000 which reduced the funding level to 64% . There were six main program areas: 1) Provide-wide advertising & promotion campaign 2) Consumer Research 3) Market Vendor Training 4) Packaging Material Development & Promotion 5) Food Safety Initiative 6) A first-ever Canadian and Ontario Farmers’ Market instructional Handbook. More than half of FMO’s 100 member Markets participated and the program was rated as a huge success.

26-Jan-01. FMO 10th Anniversary Celebrations/Annual Networking Symposium/AGM.

January 26 & 27, 2001 - FMO 10th Anniversary Celebrations/Annual Networking Symposium/AGM held at Kempenfelt Conference Centre, Barrie, Ontario. Forty (40) highly-enthusiastic participants. Our founding Chair, Charlene Lambert, The Hague/Netherlands was our special guest speaker. Plenty of warm reminiscing. Town & Country Ontario produced a nine (9) minute video.

01-Nov-00. First-ever Farmers' Market Managers' Conference.

November 1 & 2, 2000 - First-ever Farmers’ Market Managers’ Conference held at Kempenfelt Conference Centre, Barrie, Ontario. Conference theme "Growing Managers". Forty (40) people attended this event...plenty of ideas; networking; enthusiasm; a call for more manager conferences.

01-Jun-00. Farmers' Market Certification Program.

Summer-Fall 2000 - FMO, with financial support from Agricultural Adaptation Council, to conduct a feasibility study about the possibility of developing a Farmers’ Market Certification Program.

01-Apr-00. First-Ever Market Managers' Conference.

April 2000 - the FMO Board of Directors decided to organize a first-ever Market Managers' Conference in Fall 2000 and to stage our 11th Annual Networking Symposium and AGM "on our own" (not in concert with OHCC) in January 2001

16-Feb-00. 10th Annual Networking Symposium and AGM.

February 16 & 17, 2000 - 10th Annual Networking Symposium and AGM held at Regal Constellation Hotel, Toronto, Ontario simultaneously with the 26th Annual Ontario Horticultural Crops Conference. Theme "Fresh Ideas Keep Growing". About 60 participants spent considerable time talking about attracting and retaining bona-fide producer-vendors, a major issue/concern at our Markets.

01-Jun-99. Provincial Economic Impact Study Released.

June 1999 - Farmers' Markets Ontario provincial Economic Impact Study released. Impressive results. Media across Canada, including The Toronto Star "picked up" on our press release. Over 90% of shoppers come to our Farmers' Markets for the fresh produce; over 25,000 people work in our sector; about 1 million shoppers a year; annual sales at all Farmers' Markets across Ontario exceed $500 million. Our impact on Ontario's economy is over $1.5 billion.

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