Officially launched on August 10th, 2022, Market Greens is an initiative in St. James Town that aims to bring affordable fresh fruits and vegetables year-round to low-income residents facing food insecurity. As of 2016, 32% of St. James Town residents have low incomes as compared to the Toronto average of 17%. From an interview with Nadjib Alamyar, Program Manager, Capacity Building Initiatives, at Sherbourne Health, the goal of the initiative, funded by Community Food Centres of Canada, is to promote health and reduce the risk of acquiring diet-related health problems.
Due to the onset of the pandemic, supply chain interruptions caused by the war in Ukraine and rising oil and gas prices, we have all experienced a bite out of our food budgets. The rise in food costs has affected everyone’s food purchasing power. As of June, this year, grocery store prices have risen by 8.8 % over prices this time last year (CTV News, July 20th, 2022) and according to The Toronto Observer, Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank saw a 47 % rise in usage over the past year (April 22, 2022).
Low-income communities are more at risk of diet related chronic health problems like diabetes, heart disease and anemia, and it has become increasingly more difficult for residents to access affordable fresh food.
Alamyar says that Market Greens is open to everyone and no referral is necessary. The general public can purchase produce at cost. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, residents can also consult with a dietitian who is available on-site during market hours.
Located in St. James Town at 240 Wellesley (The Hub @ 240), its hours of operation are weekly, every Wednesday from 1:00 – 4:30 pm.