Calgary Eats! - Bringing fresh local food to Calgarians
Working with local farms, food growers and food distributors, The City is using pop-up food markets to bring fresh, healthy, local food to Calgarians. The program began in 2017, bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to Calgary transit passengers and the community at select CTrain stations. This year, the pop-up food markets have expanded to three CTrain stations and eight community hubs around Calgary. They operate from Tuesday to Saturday, and will run until Thanksgiving, on Oct. 12.
Improving access to healthy food options is an important part of Calgary Eats!, our Food Action Plan. “Bringing pop-up food markets into community hubs provides Calgarians with another option for purchasing fresh cabbage, tomatoes, beets and other produce,” says Kristi Peters, Food Systems Planner for The City. “It also provides our vendors with more opportunities to sell their produce.”
Central Memorial Park and the Winston Heights Community Association Hall are two of the new community hub locations. “Being able to sell Calgarians delicious, locally grown food in their neighbourhoods has been a great opportunity for us,” says Paul Dejonge, Owner of Broxburn Farm. They take great pride in providing Calgarians with a variety of local food options, with residents in the area flocking to their pop-up food market in Winston Heights. Just last week, there was a lineup as they prepared to open, and half of their produce was sold in the first hour.
“We’re excited to collaborate with The City on expanding our pop-up market locations,” said Rod Olson, General Manager at YYC Growers Co-operative. The team at The City worked with them to find alternative locations within communities for their pop-up food markets. “With the start of COVID-19, The City responded quickly and we were able to open new locations to sell our locally grown fruits and vegetables.”
Due to COVID-19, not all Calgarians are able to visit larger stores to purchase food. Fresh Routes brings healthy and affordable food to Calgarians. The Fresh Routes pop-up mobile food markets mean residents can purchase food, while limiting their exposure to crowded locations. “During the COVID-19 pandemic it’s been a challenge for some Calgarians to access affordable food,” says Lourdes Juan, Co-founder of Fresh Routes. “We have stops around the city, including Sunalta LRT Station, Murray Copot Arena, and Bowness Community Association each week. We’re able to bring fresh produce to those who may have trouble accessing food for a variety of reasons.”
All market vendors are required to follow the COVID-19 Guidance for Farmers’ Markets and Public Markets provided by Alberta Health Services. When visiting a pop-up food market, please follow the social distancing measures that have been setup to create a safe experience for everyone.
To see the pop-up food market schedule or learn more about the program, please visit Calgary.ca/localfood. Our vendors are selling a variety of locally grown fresh foods that are perfect for a weekend barbecue.
If you’re an urban grower or local farmer who is interested in operating a pop-up food market, reach out to us! We’re always looking for new vendors to work with. The program application form can be found on Calgary.ca/localfood.