Originally posted on www.foodshare.net

by Camille Bettonville

On Thursdays, from 4-8pm, residents of the Lotherton Pathway community gather their grocery bags and head to the Lotherton Good Food Market.

As their kids have fun in the common playground, community members purchase fresh vegetables and fruits from the Good Food Market. This has become the routine for Lotherton Pathway since the first week of June, when the Good Food Market opened.

Before the new Good Food Market opened, FoodShare’s Mobile Good Food Market made weekly stops in the Lotherton Community to bring affordable, fresh, culturally diverse vegetables and fruits to residents. The community is considered a food desert, as the members of the community have to face a 45-minute walk or a $6-round-trip fare and a walk to access the first affordable grocery store. The only short cut, which saved 30 minutes of walking, was dangerous and required crossing train tracks.

The Mobile Good Food Market had such a big success that FoodShare, in collaboration with Syme Woolner Neighbourhood and Family Centre and NYCH’s ANC (Action for Neighbourhood Change), decided to convert the Mobile Good Food Market stop into a weekly Good Food Market. The staff that runs the market is from the community and FoodShare takes care of the delivery and supply of vegetables and fruits. Syme-Woolner NFC supports the market by being responsible for supervising, staffing, funding and finding food waste solutions, such as using leftovers in the community kitchen or other food programs.

FoodShare makes sure the staples delivered are culturally appropriate. In Lotherton, the bestsellers are okra, Caribbean sweet potatoes and mangoes. Nadine, a market volunteer, sees how important the market is for the community. She keeps the market vibrant with her smile, sense of humour and good spirit.

“Thanks to the market the community is more unified, now I talk and get to know the people I would just see in the hallway. The market has brought everybody together. I love my community and I love my market!” said Nadine.

FoodShare’s Mobile Good Food Market has stopped in six new locations this spring while eight new Good Food Markets were opened. Today, FoodShare Toronto supports three times as many markets as it did three summers ago, with 29 Mobile and Good Food Market locations increasing access to affordable fresh vegetables and fruits.

Read more Community Stories here.