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The Canton Farmers Market will end its 2016 season on October 16, 2016, with a mini Harvest Celebration for the whole family from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. Little market-goers can look forward to a special autumn-themed bounce house, face-painting, a skilled pumpkin carver demonstrating his talents on site, and a visit with some furry friends at our petting zoo. The first 50 kids who stop by the Market Kids Tent, which has been generously sponsored by All Saints Catholic School all season-long, will receive a free small pumpkin from Prochaska Farms. Pumpkin decorating will also be available as well at the Kids Tent.
This Harvest Celebration marks the end of the Canton Farmers Market's 22-week season. More than 10,000 visitors strolled through Preservation Park, filling their bags with locally grown or made products supplied by some beloved vendors who have been with Canton's Market since its inception. Additionally, shoppers were treated to 17 brand new vendors, helping to keep the selection fresh and inviting to both new and seasoned Market-goers. Veteran Market Vendor, Christine Stamper of Crunch Granola shared this about her experiences, “The Farmers Market in Canton is so much more than a Market to us. We really look forward to spending our Sundays with everyone. Between the music, food, great Michigan products, and people, it feels so much more like getting together with family. The folks in Canton really have created something special!”
Market staff are extremely excited about the continued success and growth of the Market 10 years after its humble beginnings. The 2016 season boasted new chefs and food trucks, partnerships with more than 10 different community and youth groups, and an enormously successful Rally on Ridge fundraising event that grew to 17 Food Trucks and an estimated crowd of 7,000 hungry diners.
Canton's endlessly dedicated Volunteer Master Gardeners continued their weekly presence at the Market, hosting plant exchanges and providing tips and solutions to even the trickiest backyard conundrums. Their Co-Op gardens produced a wide variety of veggies that benefited First Step Domestic Violence Shelter and TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program), supplementing canned and boxed meals with nutritious organic produce.
Providing accessible and stigma-free food assistance programs to economically disadvantaged shoppers remains an integral part of the Canton Farmers Market’s mission. In 2016 more than $1500 in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits and $1000 in Double Up Food Bucks benefits were distributed. Market Administrators are thrilled to announce the addition of two new Food Assistance efforts that will further grow healthy food access opportunities in Canton for low-income senior residents.
The Canton Market will become a distribution and redemption site for Senior Project FRESH in 2017. FRESH originates from USDA funding, and was designed to benefit both area farmers and seniors. Eligible participants are given $20 in vouchers to use at the Market to purchase any Michigan-grown, non-processed food products. The vouchers work like cash to pay for the fresh produce.
Canton's Market was also a proud recipient of a $22,000 Healthy Food Connect grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, seeking to connect children and seniors to the people, places, and services necessary to ensure they have healthy food options every day. Canton's efforts will include partnerships with HVA (Huron Valley Ambulance) and Canton Place to provide free transportation to the Market, food access education, individualized market tours, healthy cooking demos, and other important resources for eligible seniors. Recreation Coordinator, Jennifer Provenzano, says this about the grant, "We are incredibly grateful to be included in the 20 organizations that will benefit from this two million dollar initiative. Community health is so often a reflection of its local food systems, and access to good nutrition, especially for our most vulnerable populations is key. Canton is very excited about the good work that we'll be able to do with this funding."
As the Canton Farmers Market slowly closes the books on its 2016 season, organizers are already busy planning upcoming Winter Markets, and the 2017 season ahead. Market Manager, Amanda Campana adds, "We never tire of dreaming new dreams for our Market. We've got some fun new tricks up our sleeve for next season already."
The Canton Farmers Market takes place Sundays, now through October 16 from 9 am - 1 pm, rain or shine, at Preservation Park, which is located at 500 N. Ridge Road. To find the latest in Market happenings and updates, search "Farmers Market" at www.cantonfun.org or like the Canton Farmers Market on Facebook.