Every year, the farmers’ market season is preceded by a flurry of market managers looking for new vendors and vendors looking for markets to attend in and around the Greenbelt. It’s a time consuming challenge for market managers, and for farmers who are busy getting ready for spring planting. The Greenbelt Farmers’ Market Network (GbFMN) has answered the challenge with an online tool that finds matches between markets and vendors.
The Market Matchmaker, available at www.greenbeltmarkets.ca is similar to romance matchmaking, but instead of matching people looking for a long walk on the beach, it matches vendors and markets. Patricia Lancia, manager at Barrie Farmers’ Market says, “The technology in the Matchmaker is really simple to navigate. It’s going to make connecting with potential vendors much easier.”
After a trial in 2017, the new updated matchmaker, created by Word and Data, launched Feb 22, 2018. It’s available to farmers’ markets and vendors in and around Ontario’s Greenbelt. Regions include Dufferin, Durham, Grey/Bruce, Halton, Hamilton, Huron, Kawartha/Northumberland/Peterborough, Niagara, Peel, Simcoe,Toronto, Wellington County and York.
GbFMN, which aims to increase the success of farmers’ markets in and around the Greenbelt, is a project funded by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and hosted by FoodShare Toronto. GbFMN develops research reports, shares information, provides professional development opportunities for market organizers, and allocates small grants to markets and farmers. It promotes a network of nearly 100 markets, contributing to vibrant communities in and around the Greenbelt.