Working with local farms, food growers and food distributors, the City of Calgary is using pop-up farm stands to bring fresh, healthy, local food to Calgarians this Thanksgiving weekend. This year, the pop-up farm stands, organized by Fresh Routes, have expanded to three CTrain stations and eight community hubs around Calgary. The mobile markets are allowing residents to pick up fresh food while limiting their exposure to crowded locations.
"During the pandemic it’s been a challenge for some Calgarians to access affordable food," said Lourdes Juan, co-founder of Fresh Routes. "We have stops around the city, including Sunalta LRT Station, The Alex Community Food Centre and Greenwood Village Dome N.W. We’re able to bring fresh produce to those who may have trouble accessing food for a variety of reasons."
The pop-up farm stands operate from Tuesday to Saturday, and will run until Thanksgiving on Oct. 12.
Improving access to healthy food options is an important part of Calgary Eats!, the City's Food Action Plan. "Bringing pop-up farm stands into community hubs provides Calgarians with another option for purchasing fresh cabbage, tomatoes, beets and other produce" said Kristi Peters, Food Systems Planner for The City, "It also provides our vendors with more opportunities to sell their produce."
"Being able to sell Calgarians locally grown food in their neighbourhoods has been a great opportunity for us," said Paul Dejonge, owner of Broxburn Farm.
All market vendors are required to follow the COVID-19 Guidance for Farmers’ Markets and Public Markets provided by Alberta Health Services. When visiting a pop-up food market, patrons are to follow the social distancing measures that have been setup to create a safe experience for everyone.
To see the pop-up food market schedule or learn more about the program, visit Calgary.ca/localfood.
The City is always looking for new vendors to work with. The program application form can be found on Calgary.ca/localfood.