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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21-Sep-90. Ontario Public/Farmers' Markets Networking Symposium.

Fall 1990 - Chorney provided the leadership and organization; Lambert represented the Farmers' Market industry. $20,000 commitment from OMAFRA to organize a "Ontario Public/Farmers' Markets Networking Symposium" at The Delta Meadowvale Inn, Mississauga, Ontario.

13-Sep-90. Public/Farmers' Markets Networking Symposium.

September 13, 1990 - Charlene Lambert and Philip Powell, Ottawa; Don Corry, Kitchener; 2 representatives from St. Lawrence Market, Toronto; Bob Cobbledick, OMAFRA, Vineland Station; Robert Chorney and his OMAFRA Manager, Dermod Mark met at Bristol Place Hotel, Toronto, Ontario to discuss networking and they agreed to attempt to stage a "Public/Farmers' Markets Networking Symposium" at Mississauga, Ontario in Winter 1991.

01-Sep-90. Chorney Assists Groups in Central Ontario.

By Fall 1990-Winter 1991, Chorney was assisting groups in Central Ontario, such as Flesherton and Walkerton.

06-Jul-90. Lambert and Chorney Meeting.

July 6, 1990 - Lambert and Chorney held a dinner-meeting in The By Ward Market. They agreed on the next step...Chorney would organize a meeting of a few key Farmers' Market leaders at Bristol Place Hotel, Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, September 13, 1990.

28-Jun-90. Ontario Network of Farmers' Markets.

June 28, 1990 - Charlene Lambert, Senior Economic Development Officer, City of Ottawa and Robert Chorney, Northern Marketing Specialist, OMAFRA, Sault Ste. Marie talked by telephone about the possibility of creating an Ontario network of Farmers' Markets. They agreed to meet at Ottawa, Ontario on Friday, July 6, 1990.

01-Apr-90. NOFMA Is Born.

NOFMA - Northern Ontario Farmers' Markets Association was born. Enthusiasm/energy abounded! Its Mission Statement: "To be a strong voice for all Farmers' Markets across Northern Ontario in the areas of communication, co-ordination and negotiation". Each member market had one vote...a four person Executive elected:


Gordon Edwards, New Liskeard


Joanne Barrie, Thunder Bay


Ann Board, Powassan


Robert Chorney, Sault Ste. Marie

Word spread about the highly-successful Northern Program and, in Spring 1990, Chorney was asked to help organize new Farmers' Markets in Eastern Ontario, in such centres as Almonte and Carp. OMAFRA agreed...again.

01-Jan-90. No record/history of an Ontario Farmers' Markets Association prior to 1990.

There is no record/history of an Ontario Farmers' Markets Association prior to 1990. There had been about 60 Farmers' Markets across Ontario in the 1970's and 1980's; the number dropped somewhat and returned to about 60 by the late 1980's.

17-Jan-89. Northern Ontario Farmers' Markets Association.

January 17 & 18, 1989 - OMAFRA/Chorney organized a meeting with a dozen Northern Ontario Farmers' Market leaders at the Sheraton Caswell Inn, Sudbury, Ontario. The objective: "Organize a Northern Ontario Farmers' Markets Association".

01-Jan-88. Chorney Helps Organize 15 New Farmers' Markets.

Chorney criss-crossed Northern Ontario several times during 1988 and 1989 and helped organize 15 new Farmers' Markets.

02-Nov-87. Northern Ontario Farmers' Markets Seminar.

There is no history of "networking" or of any government program(s) or support. That changed in July 1987 when the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food hired two Northern Ontario Marketing Specialists. One of them, Robert Chorney quickly recognized the marketing opportunities presented by Farmers' Markets and with OMAFRA's moral and financial support organized a two-day Northern Ontario Farmers' Markets Seminar at Sudbury, Ontario on November 2 & 3, 1987. Forty-four (44) enthusiastic farm, business and political leaders from across Northern Ontario attended and they identified the potential for several more Farmers' Markets across the North. Seven (7) existed at that time.

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