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Windsor Farmers’ Market to get second life thanks to Happy Community Project

Dozens of people walk through the Windsor Mall on Water Street during the Avon Christmas Market on Nov. 26, 2017.
Dozens of people walk through the Windsor Mall on Water Street during the Avon Christmas Market on Nov. 26, 2017. - Colin Chisholm

‘Bringing everybody together’

WINDSOR. N.S - Organizers with the Happy Community Project based in Windsor are hoping to revive the former farmers’ market after it shuttered in 2017.

Adrienne Wood, co-chairwoman of the Windsor Business Enhancement Society (WBES) and a core volunteer with the farmers’ market project, said she missed the farmers’ market when it closed and hopes to bring it back.

“Through the WBES, we had the idea to restart the farmers’ market, or get that going downtown again to add to the revival of the downtown,” Wood said. “We were starting to get our ducks in a row and we got word that the Happy Community Project also identified that was something they wanted to work on, so we merged our efforts.”

If all goes according to plan, the market will be located at the Windsor Mall on Water Street each Sunday, starting in June 2018.

Wood said the WBES received a lot of positive feedback following the Avon Christmas Market in November, which helped solidify the location.

She said the owners of the Windsor Mall property are interested in working with the community group to help the project move forward.

Uniting a community

Organizers are leaning towards The Avon River Community Market as the new name.

Wood said organizers didn’t want to name it after the town or municipality; rather, the aim is to unite people around the idea. There is also an emphasis on the idea of a community market instead of a farmers’ market in order to highlight the fact that more than just vegetables will be offered.

Wood said there have already been four meetings on the market idea, with more to come.

“We’ve got farmers at the table, downtown merchants, new people in the community who want to be engaged and want to see things thrive,” she said.

 

 

 

The previous farmers’ market, which was located at the Old Coach House on the town’s waterfront, stopped operating in 2017.

Jamie Cornetta, the former director of that farmers’ market and one of the vendors, is now part of the new community market effort, Wood said.

The plan is start with approximately 30 vendors, a mix of farm products as well as crafts, flowers, soaps and more.

“If we get enough interest we could spill out onto the sidewalks and into the back parking lot and the waterfront as well,” she said.

Wood said the organizers liked the idea of a Sunday market to avoid competing with the popular Wolfville and Halifax farmers’ markets, which run on Saturdays.

“I really liked going to the market when it was at the Coach House, I really loved picking up my flowers and my vegetables every week and just seeing the regulars,” she said. “I really enjoyed that ritual and I found I really missed that this summer.”

A community effort

Holly Lothian, project coordinator of the Avon River Community Market, said she wanted to revive the farmers’ market to provide a community gathering space.

“I grew up in Hants County and grew up on a family farm, worked in agriculture for the last 10 years and, coming to Windsor, I’ve always wanted that feel of bringing everybody together,” Lothian said. “Farmers, community members, artisans and whoever would be involved to sell their items and for the community to support them.”

Lothian wasn’t surprised when the former farmers’ market closed, adding that it takes a lot of time and effort from volunteers to make something like that operate.

She says she thinks this new iteration will thrive.

“We’re revitalizing the people who were involved with it, and I think that’s what’s needed,” she said. “It creates something that’s new and fresh. Hopefully we can bring the community together and support it.”

The next market meeting is on Jan. 24 at the Windsor Public Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and organizers are hoping to get more people involved. A call for vendors will also be discussed.

The Happy Community Project, which started in Windsor in 2017, has already saved a popular community breakfast in Ellershouse.

Learn more about the Happy Community Project here

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