Edmonton downtown farmers market returns to 104th Street June 15

Click to play video: 'Downtown Edmonton farmers’ market returns'
Downtown Edmonton farmers’ market returns
After half a decade away, the downtown Edmonton farmers' market is returning to 104 Street in June. Breanna Karstens-Smith has a preview. – Apr 30, 2024

The Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market will return outdoors to 104th Street every Saturday starting June 15 until Oct. 12.

It will take place on 104th Street between Jasper Avenue and 102nd Avenue.

“We did a couple of town hall meetings …  and it was overwhelming excitement,” said Puneeta McBryan, CEO of the Downtown Business Association.

“A lot of the negative activity that I think people are afraid of when they think of downtown really melts away when you have a really vibrant and populated environment.”

Vendors are being selected, and so far more than 75 have already applied. Returning vendors include Lacombe Fresh, Riverbend Gardens, Reclaim Organics, Ocean Odyssey, Steve & Dan’s and Sundog Organic Farm.

Click to play video: 'Downtown Business Association excited for return of outdoor 104 Street farmers market'
Downtown Business Association excited for return of outdoor 104 Street farmers market

Riverbend Gardens has been selling produce at the downtown market since 1981.

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“Our whole business is based around supporting local,” said owner Janelle Herbert. “We grow our vegetables in northeast Edmonton and we sell them in markets throughout the city. Downtown 104th Street market is one of our best markets.

“Really successful for us. We have a large clientele that comes every week, we meet with our customers every week, they know who we are,” she explained.

The market will be managed by the Downtown Business Association. Foundry Events has been hired — through an open competitive RFP process — to operate the market.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market declares bankruptcy'
Edmonton Downtown Farmers Market declares bankruptcy

“We’ve heard from the downtown business community, the market vendor community, and Edmontonians from across the city that the 104th Street downtown farmers market is sorely missed,” McBryan said. “We know that bringing this market back to this iconic location is going to bring community vibrancy and economic strength back to the area and give people from near and far a weekly reason to come and spend a Saturday downtown.”

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The management group pointed out that there are more outdoor patios along 104th Street than before, which will add to the energy of the area for an after-shopping experience.

“It’s coming back and we’re super excited about it,” said Geoff Linden, owner of Credo Coffee.

“It’s vibrant … Right from the start of setup, which is usually around 7:30, 8 in the morning, we get the vendors coming in, they’re ready for their day. Fresh produce, fresh meat … and then the people start showing up,” he said. “People gather throughout the day — families, kids, dogs.

“We’re really all here to create something that’s fun and special downtown and this adds to that,” Linden said.

Click to play video: 'Permit problems causes delays for indoor farmers market in Edmonton'
Permit problems causes delays for indoor farmers market in Edmonton

Financial support for the market will be provided by the City of Edmonton’s Downtown Vibrancy Fund with the EDBA contributing additional resources.

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“The 104th Street market is an iconic experience in Edmonton and the last few years where we’ve missed that is a missed opportunity,” said Tom Girvan, director of Downtown Vibrancy and Safe City.

The downtown market used to operate along the outdoor promenade on Saturdays before it moved to the historic Army & Navy building on 103rd Avenue and 97th Street in 2020.

But the move to the indoor location coincided with the pandemic, and the market saw a big decline in vendors and shoppers. It also struggled with high utility costs and announced in January 2024 it would have to fold and declare bankruptcy.

Girvan hopes to leave the past decisions — including moving the market indoors — in the past and dwell on the bright future ahead.

“Lots of different opinions on whether or not that was the right choice,” Girvan said. “The focus for us is what we have right now and the control in terms of bringing the market back to 104th Street, which is something we heard loud support for over the past few years.

“It’s going to the be the return of something really special,” he added.

“The vibrancy that it brings, and the thousands that we know are going to come back, are welcomed not just by 104th Street but those in the nearby area.”

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Click to play video: 'City Market Downtown leaving 104 Street'
City Market Downtown leaving 104 Street

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