Tomorrow, between 4 and 7, I’m going to be playing and singing at the first ever Winter Market held in the Sorauren fieldhouse in Parkdale, in Toronto’s west end. This will be a monthly event until the weekly market resumes in the spring. The Sorauren Market is run by the West End Food Co-op, an inspiring group of people who, in addition to running the market and a food mapping project, are developing their vision to raise capital and create a co-operative retail food store in Parkdale. Just two weeks ago, on November 2, I was delighted to perform a few songs at the West End Food Co-op’s Bond Campaign Launch at the Gladstone Hotel.
I love good food and co-ops and farmers’ markets. I believe markets are a perfect setting for the kinds of songs I like to write and perform: songs about people, cities, relationships, ecology and economy. Over the past couple of summers, I’ve been known to trek across to the east end of town to play for the good folks who frequent the Withrow Park Farmer’s Market. Back here in the west end, I’m lucky to live near several of Toronto’s best markets, including the year-round market in Dufferin Grove. The broad spectrum of fresh, organic food (including bread baked in a stone oven in the park) and the feeling of community appeal to my hopeful, upbeat side. Market shopping is a small thing that many of us can easily do to support local food producers and nurture ourselves and our communities with healthy, sustainable food.
Plus, markets are fun! Many feature musicians and artists, educational programs and craft projects for kids and grown-ups. Great conversations seem to spring up between all sorts of people and I often run into folks I haven’t seen in a while (the most extreme case of this occured last winter when I ran into sustainable food educator, Garden Jane, and we realized that we recognized each other from a university course we had taken together many years before).
So, if you’re in west end Toronto, I’d love to see you tomorrow afternoon/evening at the Sorauren fieldhouse. Come out for great food, community and music. Talk to the West End Food Co-oppers about their plans and their Bond program. And wherever you are, I encourage you to look into ways you can participate in neighbourhood gardens, local markets, community shared agriculture programs and food co-ops. If you can’t find anything like that in your community, why not get some neighbours together and create something new? And then write a song about it.