Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Who is Responsible for Farmers Market

Posted by auroracitizen on September 25, 2009

If you believe the recent Letters to the Editor there seems to some confusion about who is responsible for the success of the Aurora Farmers Market.

Sher St Kitts, wrote a letter suggesting that Mayor Phyllis Morris and Councillor Granger were responsible for all that is good at the Farmers Market. It seems the only things she didn’t credit them with was sunshine and warm weather.

A number of citizens rightly pointed out that the Market was around long before either were involved and that if any Councillor was to be credited with the success, it should be Councillor Kean who was the driving force behind starting the market.

However, former Councillor Kean got it right when he shared the credit with those who are most deserving — the volunteers and the vendors. Without them there would be no market regardless of any Council involvement.

And of course, the most important people of all? The many people who visit the market to chat, purchase products and just enjoy the opportunity to be part of an event that reminds us all what a community is about.

So maybe folks should be less concerned about giving their political friends credit — and we should all celebrate the sense of community that activities like a Farmers Market represents — regardless of what politician you support.

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34 Responses to “Who is Responsible for Farmers Market”

  1. Integrity Smegrity said

    The recent events reguarding the budget request of Clr.Granger for $10,000 to pay for a Market Manager begged me to ask a few questions about the said Market .
    This “Aurora Farmers Market “I understand is a private venture that is not , non-profit or charity in structure .
    There is an executive made up of Vendors and non vendors and yet an Aurora Citizen is not given the opportunity to become part of it even though Tax money is assisting this project .

    So exactly what is it ?

    Clr. Granger is said to be a Liason to the Market and yet it is a private venture ?
    Why is a liason needed and a Market manager ?
    If fees are paid to the Town for a Booth or” Stall ” as I was informed ,then why cant the Bylaws Department ensure Fees are paid .
    Why exactly is there a need for a “Town Liason ” and more so $10,000 for a Market Manager .
    I am sure there are volunteers who would love to help the Market and give more citizens a chance to strut their talents .
    But if that were the case ,then the Special Events person would not be able select the talent and there so declaring a conflict because of owning a music business .
    If this is a private venture ,like the Jazz festval ,that used Farmers Market Funds ,then why are Tax Payers paying for it .
    There are answers required here and so far not many seemed to be replied to .
    I read a recent blog “Temporary Sanity “asking questions about the “Farmers Market Commitee “and who is on it .
    There is a question I would like to know and if there are minutes kept for the meetings .
    Not being a true part of The Town of Aurora these records are not public information I am told and yet they receive public funds .
    Something is smelly in this Market and its not the produce ,just the non producers integrity .

    • Nigel Kean said

      When I started the market 7 or 8 years ago it was with the intention of helping the downtown of Aurora businesses by getting more people downtown. There was no town money used and I was the person who organized and ran the market every week. I would get the signs out and then help anyone who needed help setting up their canopies. Then I would put away the garbage bins and collect the signs at the end of the market.
      There was no need for a salaried manager and I still feel that way. It is great that the market has expanded and the new location seems to work but if Coun. Grainger was at the market a 6:30AM Saturday morning and set up the signs then why would we have to pay someone to do what I consider a volunteer position.
      There were also many great vendors who would always help when help was needed and I am sure they still would.
      The market should be for local farmers,retailers and those who produce product such as the jewelry and bird houses and not to promote friends. It should also be less political than it is today.
      Save the $10,000.00.

    • Brickbat returns said

      It should be noted Mr Granger requested the monies for a Market Manager without the consoltation of the current executive .
      There was not an executive meeting before this request according to a current person on the executive .
      Also this is a private venture therefore the vendors would make up a General Commitee and should have a say with such a request .
      The Mayor has said not all vendors paid for there permits ,well than blame your puppet who should have made sure or did Mr.Granger provide space without approval .

      Tune in tomorrow ,same Brick time ,same Bat channel . .

    • News Flash said

      It has hit the mill that The Farmers Market has not held elections for 2010 .
      Last year they were possibly held in November .

      The Market is appearing at council with last year executive asking for funds .
      Why ?

      Why has there been a delay in the election process .

      I found this out by asking for an application because the Market interests me to possibly showcase my wares .

      Very strange little Town .

      How come Mr.Granger is keeping this a secret .

      Maybe the Mayoe needs a platform for her sinking ship .

  2. Anonymous said

    Correct ,Mr Heard should not have to speak up due to his actions speaking volumes .
    I know he also is very involved with many outreach programs and has been for some time now .
    Mr Heard also with assistance of the United Church and “Rise and Shine Breakfast ” have been delivering fresh bread to the “Aurora Food Pantry “each week for a year now .
    Several thousand loaves make their way into homes of those in need and this is the act of unselfish people who dont mug for cameras and look for credit .
    Dont cave David ,just keep doing the magic you seem to love to do.

  3. Anonymous said

    This just in .
    Volunteer status could be questioned if you receive thousands of dollars from The Town .
    In this case a Town Staffer has allowed information to hit the streets as to payments to St.Kitts .
    Now we may have an idea why the recent letter to the Auroran by Sher did not mention her past activity with “The Aurora Dream Team “.
    Just more deflection from the real issue that Councilor Buck addressed .

  4. Anonymous said

    Why should Dave Heard be expected to speak up? He is a “vendor” and does his own thing, including collecting food for the food pantry.
    Don’t drag Dave into the political crap of the Farmers Market.
    It’s his call if he wants to speak out, otherwise, just leave him out of this.

  5. anonymous said

    My understanding is it was a few thousand in possibly the last year and could be as much as eight to ten Thousand this year ,but nobody seems to want to answer that question .
    The Jazz Festival may have received a good portion of these funds and seemed to be more of a St Kitts event than anything .
    There needs to be alot of accountability and answers on this one .
    Maybe Mr. Heard who was mentioned by a citizen in another post needs to speak up instead of skirting questions .

  6. Anonymous said

    How much of the town coffers supports the farmers market? If the town gives it cash, then why shouldn’t it be part of special events and Shelley Ware? She does a great job, and is a professional.

  7. Anonymous said

    It is time for the market to become part of Shelley Ware’s portfolio.
    Get the so called politicians and self serving St Kitts out for ever. St Kitts has managed to have hubby’s band or affiliated bands as the sole source of entertainment at the market.Grainger has tried to steal what past councillor Kean started and Wilson has just tried to enforce the mayor’s will on those who do not agree what is happening at the market.
    This market never used to be political when it started so why is it now?????
    Gee you think the mayor and GOS would have lots of free advertising with law suits and the hang out to dry campaign.

  8. Anonymous said

    David Heard is too much of a gentleman to slam those of the councillors and the mayor. His job at the market is to promote his anti bullying project and the historic tours that he runs. He is very much up on both of these issues.
    What really bothers me is the fact that he is anti bullying yet Cllrs Wilso, Granger and Mayor Morris continue to try to bully him as he does not fit into their plans.
    What a joke!
    David, do not cave into these folks.

  9. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    Today I saw both the Mayor and councilor Granger inside the St. Kitts both. If any more of the GOS show up they’ll need to spring for a larger tent.

    Both the mayor and Granger, adorned with their clip-on plastic smiles, seemed to be studying the DJ equipment My heart almost stopped, but thankfully they didn’t break into song.

    It was interesting that the backdrop to them was a banner for…the era banner. Although it shows a clear political bias of that paper one wonders what exactly does that have to do with St. Kitts music?

    Again a sad display of more politics at our market, but not shocking. I have to agree that the public needs to be more involved.

    What was even sadder was the cold day, the market felt a little more empty today as I noticed three vendors weren’t present : Fair Trade TTCH Group, or as we know him “the strudel guy”, The Sugar District and Carrie’s Creations.

    I was saddened to learn that Carrie’s mom recently passed, thus the reason for her absence. Our hearts go out to her.

    The market is special. You really notice it when vendors aren’t there, there’s something missing.

    Next week in the spirit of Thanksgiving, and a sign of respect to the vendors that make the market great I encourage everyone to pick up some local produce and drop it by Dave’s booth. Every week he continues to collect fresh produce for the Aurora pantry, I lost track of his tally but it shows great commitment to community.

    Again something our council and so called “dream team” could learn from.

  10. Anonymous said

    Perhaps Dave Heard would rather “serve” the market in his own way instead of getting wrapped up in the b.s. of Sher St. Kitts and the equally ridiculous Granger.
    I go to the market for fruit & veg, fabulous bread and a bit of community spirit of my own making. If I see a politician, I ignore them. They aren’t going to ruin a nice morning chatting to my friends and neighbours. It’s the same few people chatting to Morris and Granger, so its not like they have a huge political base. They are just annoying and cloying. If you ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.
    I noticed the booth that The Banner sponsors at the market also has a St. Kitts music banner. Isn’t that sweet?

  11. anonymous said

    The fact St kitts is looking forward to next years Market or said Jazz festival is quite shocking .
    To those Aurora citizens who are not aware “The Farmers Market ” has a committee by election .
    The general committee (The vendors ) have an election each year and it has not been held for the 2010 season of the market .
    I spoke to David Heard today at the market and he was quite evasive as to my questions about the Market .
    I lost alot of respect for him ,and then found out he resigned from his committee posts last season and he did not wish to slam the Market or its executive .
    He did however say he would like to see the general public get more involved in the decisions made about “Their Market “.
    I dont know why Mr Heard is not getting more involved himself rather than walking away .It looks like he has alot of positives to offer by seeing his booths and results .
    However if he has to work with people who already assume they have positions for the coming years ,I also would walk away .
    There seems to be alot of Mayor in the Market and that in itself is worth running ,not walking .

  12. Nigel Kean said

    I am not sure about the Tim Horton’s comment nor the selective memory when someone signs anonymous. There seems to be so many anonymous people in Aurora that I can’t get to know nor remember them all.
    That being said, regardless of the current makeup of the market, I still find my wife and I enjoy every Saturday morning that we are there.
    The vendors who are at the market have put in a lot of time to be there and really do deserve support from Aurora residents.There are great vendors there and they will only continue to survive with your help. At the last count, there were 5 booths selling Vegetables and fruit, 3 selling baked goods, 2 selling meat products plus other various booths including David Heard’s Aurora history booth and of course Gabriel’s back bacon on a bun.There is also great jewelry and hand made soap booths. The list goes on and on.
    It is a Farmer’s Market similiar to the St. Jacobs Market but on a much smaller basis.
    Let’s support what we have and if anyone has any ideas on how to improve it let someone who helps run the market know.

  13. Anonymous said

    I was surprised that it took Nigel so long to post a reply to this about the Market. Maybe he was having lunch with Sher 🙂

    As indicated, I have been to the market – once – and I was disappointed. Not so much for what was there, but by what was not there. There were not many farmers selling things. We are in a fairly argicultural area but if the market has to propped up by a BBQ trailer or bird houses or bands, it’s not a farmers market and perhaps we should stop calling it that. Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s a craft sale or outdoor flea market or bake sale or something. It is certainly not a farmers market.

    Nigel, I used to see you Saturday mornings at Tim Hortons when I was making my golf day stop. I guess memory is selective.

  14. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    Funny St. Kitts was in town council again giving herself a big pat on the back for the success of the recent Jazz plus festival at the farmers market. Funnier that the Mayor referred to her as “the lady in the back”. After seeing some of their previous schmooze sessions I would have thought that Morris would know who St. Kitts is.

    The “Special events coordinator” mentioned how next year it will be a two day event with international flavor. Does this mean we get George for two days?

    The last two times I have passed St. Kitts at the market she seemed a bit off. The first time was after George finished his set on the stage and she was walking down the path towards her booth rambling into her coffee cup about Big band something or other. I looked around and could not figure out who she was rambling too (besides herself) but did not see anyone near her. Last week she was standing in the middle of the market thanking the sun for coming out. Good thing, I was afraid it would never be seen again.

    Perhaps we should all give St. Kitts the big pat on the back she wants…..but I will do mine from a distance. I don’t want to catch what she has…..

  15. Anne said

    You are right Nigel Kean, and I regret my negative comments towards the Farmers Market itself, which by your post, is so much more than the Council members who frequent it. I guess years of watching this Council’s behaviour (well, 6 of the 9 members anyway) has made me a cynic. I will try to make it there one Saturday before the end of the season.

  16. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    I go to the Aurora Farmers Market about 3 times a year.

    When I go, I see 10 or 12 friends, a few acquaintances, a couple of folks who look me in the eye and look away, and after that I buy about $40 worth of stuff (mostly veg and bread) and I go home after about 45 minutes.

  17. Anonymous said

    Thank you Nigel Kean for a civilized response.
    We would all benefit from working to improve what we have.

  18. Nigel Kean said

    I would like to thank everyone involved with this question.
    The market started 7 and a half years ago when I chaired the Yonge Street committee and we as a group decided that a Farmres Market downtonw would hopefully help the downtown merchants by getting people downtown on Saturday morning. I went out knocked on many Farmers' doors hoping to get the Market going. I managed to get Coopers Farms, VanHart Organic Vegetables,Howards Meats and Jams, Hurst Bakery and Gabriels. Then the Seniors joined and sold fresh baked goods, books and other items.David Heard also joined and sold items that he made. At different times there would be others selling and advertising events.
    Although small at the start we were looking for a new location to even grow the market larger.
    At that time each Saturday morning Mayor Tim Jones would do his normal visit to buy various goods.
    To me, it was a regular Saturday morning at 6:30 to pick up the baked goods from Hurst Bakery and get them to the market where my daughters Heather or Jenn would sell the baked goods.
    All of the vendors would get together every Saturday morning to help set up the various tents or canopies. Then the locals would show up to get there fresh veggies,fruits and baked goods.
    After 4 and a half years of giving up every Saturday morning from 6:30 till noon I decided that it was time to pass the torch to some one else.
    I am glad that the market is still going and those who feel that the market is not a true Farmers Market then I would suggest that perhaps next year they could help make it one.I agree that everything can be improved.
    We also at that time managed to collect a lot of food and other goods for the food bank and the Woman's Shelter thanks to all of the great residents of Aurora.

  19. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    I'm glad I arrived too late for "The Mayor's" birthday celebration at the market this week.

    Nice to see "special events" so overly "coordinated".

    "go Mayor!, go Mayor!, RAH, RAH!

    The rampant egotism and self serving nature of our Mayor makes me puke!

    Didn't the mayor already hold "The Mayor's" corn roast at the market?
    Add these to "The Mayor's" blood drive & "The Mayor's" prayer breakfast. I suppose Aurorans will all be treated to "The Mayor's" sunset tonight.

    What happened to the town of Aurora? Can't we hold anything in honor of our town anymore, or for possibly one of our volunteer groups, or non-profits?

  20. Anne said

    If we are to follow the example of our "Leader" and her five disciples, then negative sniping is the way things are done in Aurora. Just watch a Council meeting.

  21. Anonymous said

    "please resign your position on council first"

    Your meaning escapes me.
    Please explain your point.

    Do you mean my reaction to the negative sniping here qualifies me to be on council?
    Or do you mean that councilors find the sniping offensive?

  22. Anonymous said

    By all means, head straight for your basement, just please resign your position on council first. Much appreciated. Thanks.

  23. Anonymous said

    I would like to see more Aurora musicians have a chance to show off their talents and find it appalling with St Kitts Music dominating the format .
    I have only lived in Aurora a short time ,however I know the St Kitts sad ego trip and how it mirrors the Mayors .
    This is not a fair Market to the citizens and the Political atmosphere is nothing short of a disgrace .
    This Market requires a Team to operate it and not a "Dream Team " because the truth is their playing favorites is a "Nightmare".

  24. Anonymous said

    Just keep those negative vibrations going.
    So many possibilities, eh.

    Thanks for the heads up.
    Hate to think that some of Aurora's negatives would pass me by.
    I think I'll get my family into our basement shelter.

  25. Anne said

    To Anonymous 2:46 – Thanks for the heads up on the Farmers Market. I was under the impression that it was a true Farmers Market. I have not yet been but don't think I could stomach seeing Granger's plastic smile, Morris and her dog and Sher St.Kitts dancing in the street so early in the morning. I also think Granger was handed the Farmers Market "portfolio" because it was running so well to begin with and it was all he was capable of – Morris is no dummy in that respect. (I also get the impression that she wouldn't hesitate to throw him under the bus in an instant to save herself – but I digress).

  26. Anonymous said

    I 100% agree – the Farmers Market is not as great as a lot of people think… It's just a meeting place, not much local produce and not cheap…

  27. Anonymous said

    I must agree with anonymous 2:46 .
    With Granger and Sher it is about size and they focus on that .
    They are looking for votes and not a Market .
    If I had the gift of building this Market I would focus on Marketing it in a different way building community and fun events and not a political platform .
    Shelley Ware should be operating this market with help of true passionate volunteers and not political carnival acts like the lot there .
    I would hit the roads and find farmer vendors and still might if given the chance .

  28. Anonymous said

    This may not be the most popular post on this subject but I feel that I must do it. And pardon me for the anonymous label – Granger may come looking for me.

    A couple of Saturdays ago I suggested to my wife that we go to the Farmers' Market. She, a dairy and beef farmer's daughter and me a grandson of a dairy farmer. We both grew up in "small town" Ontario, she about 2 hours north of Aurora and me about 2 hours southwest.

    So, we went to the market thinking that it would be something special – if you listen to Granger and St. Kitts that would be true. We had never been to the market in Aurora – either at the current location nor it's former.

    Well, disappointment is the first word that comes to mind. Maybe we had high expectations but I think that you could count the number of "farmers" on one hand. To us, this was nothing but a craft/show and street sale. There were a couple of "farmers" selling produce and some farmers from Port Perry area selling meat, but if you were to take away the bar-b-q place, St. Kitts music, the coffee place and the other fast-food vendors and "crafts", you don't have much of a farmers' market.

    Sure, it was busy. Granger walking around chatting up the vendors, Morris and her dog; St. Kitts doing her little dance routine in the street. Of course they all say hi to each other and their little friends with hugs and kisses and chat like they have not seen each other for years – probably only been a week ago. We certainly would not go back though because as a farmers' market it pales in comparison to other markets that we have been to.

    I think that to call this a farmers' market is misleading. I was expecting farmers with large displays of their produce. Event the farmers that did have produce, there was limited selection and small quantities.

  29. Something Fishy in Aurora said

    You had to go and mention Mike's bacon didn't you….

    Great post.

  30. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    My family looks forward to the market every week. My 2 yr old knows the days of the week as Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Farmers Market day. Even her one little piggy goes to "farmer's market".

    What attracts us to the market? you can be sure it is not the plastic smiles from Granger or the Mayor should they be happening to be milling about, nor witnessing Sher dancing in the middle of an already crowded street.

    Nope, we go because the vendors are special to us.
    Every week we start our market day off with a sandwich from Kevin Finch's stand….mmmmmm.

    Then we mosey along stopping to pick up bacon from Howard Farms, produce from Finch Haven, Coopers & Brooks farms.
    Our daughter makes sure to stop and get a beautiful cookie from Nicolle's Cookies & Cakes, and some cookies or brownies from "The Sugar District" provide her sugar fix.
    A pretzel and croissant from Toscanna's are also a treat.
    Stopping by the "A Step in Time" booth always offers a new picture or story about our town's rich history, something that our cultural center could learn a lot from.

    No market day is complete without being fueled by coffee from Trisha @ GreenRiverCoffee.
    And we stock up on everything beef from Snowden Farms where our daughter recently had a meat pie named after her, try the beef and Chardonay, they are to die for.

    Once we have loaded up the stroller we are off to play in the park, mingle with the other market goers and relax in the history of Town Park.

    There is little confusion in my mind as to who is responsible for the success of the market.

    The fact that Sher left out mention of the vendors and market goers when speaking of the success of the market is truly disturbing and should discount her entire letter to be nothing more than a politically motivated piece of trash.

    Notice also how she also left out Granger's bullying of a little girl trying to sell ice cream at the market.

    Sher speaks volumes, by that I mean she has mastered volume, just not substance.
    Her writing style is flawed at best, and wholey political.

    One has to wonder if she developed it by reading the Saturday comics.

    Calvin, of the Calvin & Hobbes strip once professed:

    "The purpose of writing is to inflate weak ideas, obscure pure reasoning, and inhibit clarity. With a little practice, writing can be an intimidating and impenetrable fog"

    No doubt what we will continue to see from the so called "Dream Tream".

    There is no doubt that market was successful previous to the so called "dream team" and will live on long after they are gone. It is an event by its nature, one that does not need special coordination.

    See you all there tomorrow

  31. Anonymous said

    Great post!

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