Kingston’s food markets provide an outlet for local farmers and vendors to make their products more accessible to the public.
And now, the City of Kingston is hoping to improve these venues in order to make them work better for these producers.
“The hope is that we would be increasing availability of local food, so that means supporting the local producers and farmers who are providing those goods to the community,” says Kate Lillicrap, project manager at the Office of the CAO for the City of Kingston.
“That would also be helping with food security and sustainability in the area.”
Some of the changes that could be coming to Kingston’s food markets include lower fees to favour producers rather than resellers, focusing more on locally-grown food, and donating unsold food to charities within the city.
These adjustments have been in the works since 2019, so they aren’t directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, but Lillicrap says the pandemic has highlighted the need for these changes, which will help support local producers.
“COVID has certainly put more pressure and focus on having access to these resources locally and securing them locally as well for the community,” she says.
Some of the long-term steps the City wants to make includes changing the downtown public market to a farmer’s market format, starting a central governing body for all Kingston food markets, and potentially starting an indoor, year-round market.
But right now, the focus is on some short-term changes, particularly in finding ways to benefit local businesses and the community during this challenging economic time.
“It is their livelihood, it is their means of having a business,” says Lillicrap.
“So for them, this is certainly how they generate revenue.”
Kingston city council will discuss this report in Tuesday’s council meeting, and will decide whether or not to implement these changes.