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A Brief History of SJFM

Oops! We made a gaff in the original post which has been corrected now. Sorry for the dumb error on our part!

Did you ever wonder how the St. John’s Farmers’ Market got started? Check out our brief history in the ‘About Us’ section of our website. Or, you know, just read it here.

The St. John’s Farmer’s Market (SJFM) was initiated in the Fall of 2007 with a single local organic farmer. She wanted to sell off some surplus crop, and so she rented The Masonic Temple in downtown St. John’s and invited other vendors to come and sell their wares. This event was a huge success – it attracted over 500 customers with minimal advertising. Following this market, a group of community members held a meeting to discuss the viability of a regular market in St. John’s. This group organized two more successful markets were held in Fall 2007.

In January 2008 the community members organized a formal Steering Committee. This group’s purpose was to devise a plan of action to make a regular farmers’ market in St. John’s a reality. The committee consisted of six individuals from various backgrounds, including farmers and other potential vendors, and potential customers from the community. This group of volunteers organized the first full season of the SJFM in 2008 with weekly markets held every Saturday from July to November.

During the fall of 2008, the Steering Committee appointed a Consulting Team to look at how to make the SJFM sustainable. The Team presented a report in early 2009 suggesting that the SJFM adopt a Co-op Structure. It was proposed that the Co-operative model would serve both the economic and social developments goals of the Market.

In 2009, the Steering Committee formally incorporated as the Friends’ of the SJFM. This group continued to manage the SJFM during the 2009 and 2010 Seasons. Also in 2009, the Market hired its first employee – the 2009 Market Manager.

Over the next two years, the Friends’ of the SJFM facilitated the development of the SJFM Co-op. During 2010, the Friends’ of the SJFM performed extensive consultations with the SJFM Community and researched best practices from other Farmers’ Markets across North America. The group then presented the Market community with a draft business plan and by-laws for the Co-op.

The Co-op was finally formed November 2010. The Co-op had a founding membership of 25 members, including vendors and consumers. The Co-op’s first AGM was held on May 7th, 2011.

The SJFM Co-op has managed the Market since the 2011 Season. The Friends’ of the SJFM group continues to work and support the SJFM.


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