Dear Customers, Supporters and Friends of the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market,
Nine months have now passed since the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market Cooperative made its momentous move from River Landing to 2600 Koyl Ave in the north end on New Year’s Day 2020. And what a rollercoaster ride it has been! We opened in early January in our temporary space, moved into our freshly renovated permanent facility on February 29th, and closed again just three weeks later when the COVID-19 pandemic spread into SK. We started up an online farmers’ market 36 hours after that closure, and in parallel worked with the SK government and SHA to enable a reopening of our traditional market in late May. The unwavering support from YOU throughout this period has been the fuel that has kept us going with enthusiasm in what has frequently felt like uncharted territory for our nonprofit organization. For that we are extremely grateful, and I say this on behalf of all the members and staff of our cooperative.
The SFM Co-op was founded in 1975 (several years before I was even born!) with a vision of sustaining the local economy, by providing the public with direct access to local producers. The founders of the SFM were prescient; the 21st century has witnessed a massive resurgence in interest in local food, and the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Saskatchewan continues to import over 90% of the fruits & vegetables it consumes, but the SFM intends to change this dynamic one small step at a time. Just as I entered a career in vegetable farming at the age of 27, I hope that other young people will choose a career in farming and local food production to benefit all Saskatchewan residents. The SFM Co-op will always be present to mentor these new farmers and provide them a stepping stone to kick-start their businesses and create connections with you.
In the medium and long term, the SFM Co-op has three major infrastructure goals at our new facility. The immediate goal is to build out proper booths to enable appropriate partitioning between vendors to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols (in the interim, this is being accomplished with collapsible canopies). The second is to build a licensed kitchen facility, as per SHA regulations, to facilitate greater diversity and volume in food production from both current and future vendors. The potential for this remains largely untapped, since many vendors, in particular new immigrants, are priced out of such food production facilities. The third and final goal, which will likely be fulfilled in the post-pandemic timeline, is to build concessions for food and beverage service during markets (akin to the much-loved restaurants and cafes in our old facility at River Landing). We recognize that a wholesome market experience includes all of these elements, and when the pandemic ends, we want to be able to hit the ground running.
I am writing to you to request your help with us achieving these goals. Even if you are not in a position to contribute at this time, feel free to share this letter with businesses or individuals that may be interested in sponsoring us. Every sponsorship will be received with gratitude; no amount is too small. The accompanying flyer details how your participation in the SFM Co-op’s growth and legacy will be recognized. This is not only our cooperative, it is also yours.
Thank you very much. Stay safe and healthy!
President, Saskatoon Farmers’ Market Cooperative
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Note: The SFM is incorporated as a non-profit cooperative, but it is not a charity. Thus, we are not able to provide charitable receipts for donations received.