Our 2017 Season runs from June 3 to December 23 at the Lions Club Chalet »

Parking can be limited » Please consider walking, bussing, biking or carpooling to the market

Help us reduce waste » Bring your reusable mugs, tote bags and food containers

Like us on Facebook » Click this link: facebook.com/sjfarmersmarket

Oct
10

Aviva Community Fund 2017

With the support of the Aviva Community Fund, the St. John’s Farmers’ Market can become a national leader in environmentally friendly dining.

In 2018 the St. John’s Farmers’ Market Cooperative (SJFM) will move out of its current, rented space in the St. John’s Lions Club into a 14,000 square foot permanent home being built in a renovated city bus garage in central St. John’s. This highly-anticipated move will allow the market to house more vendors, provide indoor spaces in inclement weather, stay open for longer hours and more market days, and establish itself as a vibrant and welcoming community space outside of market times.

Taken together, and taking into account the many reports of visitors avoiding the current market due to overcrowding, this means that the SJFM is anticipating a large increase in visitor numbers. This will be a major benefit for the vendors who depend on the market to start and grow their businesses, but it also presents some major challenges – particularly with regards to waste management.

As with most farmers’ markets, a large proportion of our visitors buy a meal while on site from one of our many prepared-food vendors. Many of these meals are eaten on-site, and still more are taken home. The challenge, here, is waste – almost all of these meals are being served in disposable containers. The Market recently enforced a move away from styrofoam to compostable containers, but Newfoundland unfortunately lacks the composting infrastructure necessary to handle them (though they do break down more quickly in landfills). Nonetheless, these thousands of food containers every week are a logistical challenge on site and adding more and more to our limited landfill space. As an organization that is committed to sustainability, this is simply not a situation that can continue, especially as we grow.

Funding from the Aviva Community Fund will allow to the market to break this cycle by creating a zero-waste system for both takeout and eat-in meals.

For those patrons who eat on site, we aim to provide reusable dishes, cutlery, glassware and a water filling station. These dishes will be washed by an employee/volunteer team in our commercial kitchen and ready to be used again and again. Support from Aviva will also allow us to provide a welcoming, accessible dining area for these many patrons – we will, for the first time, have the space to allow significant amounts of indoor seating, which will be very much needed with meals now being consumed from plates and glasses rather than takeout boxes.

For customers that wish to take their food home, we intend offer reusable food containers that can be purchased for a small deposit, used, brought home, and then brought back and exchanged for a new, clean container. The used containers will also be run through our commercial dishwasher. After extensive consultations with regulatory authorities, this is the only way to allow reusable containers at the market – patrons are not permitted to bring their own from home, as it is impossible to know whether they have been properly washed.

Taken together, this sustainable dining system will remove thousands of containers a week from the waste stream, provide a much more pleasant experience for market-goers and event visitors, and provide a visible example of sustainable practices that will generate conversation in the community.

Please vote here: www.avivacommunityfund.org
 

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.