ULinks to study impact of farmers’ market 

By Chad Ingram

The U-Links Centre for Community-Bases Research along with the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market Association are applying for funding from the Rural Ontario Institute’s Measuring Rural Community Vitality Initiative.

U-Links director Emma Horrigan and association president Angel Taylor visited Haliburton County councillors during their Nov. 25 meeting.

The application required a letter of municipal support but no financial contribution from the county.

“The HCFMA represents a unique case study of how to address economic development in rural communities both at the level of production and consumption” Horrigan wrote in a correspondence to the county. “Partnering with key food stakeholders across Haliburton County we are  interested in further developing and testing a methodology that will measure the broader impact of the farmers’ market on our community including other businesses cultural tourism and enrichment and recognition of local culture.”

Since its inception in 2009 the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market has grown to include three market locations – Haliburton Village Carnarvon and as of this year Minden – operating spring through fall.
Its total sales annual sales have grown from $44000 to some $450000 this year.

“We think the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market is an excellent case study of economic development in rural communities” Taylor told councillors adding that not only had its vendors seen growth in their sales but some have now graduated to production of products. “We have vendors who have commenced production since the market started.”

Taylor noted the market also coalesced with the culinary tourism being one of the county’s three tourism pillars and the activities of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance.