Summer Produce Markets
At Daily Bread Food Bank, we believe that access to food is a human right, and no one should face barriers in accessing the food they need.
As part of our commitment to ending hunger in Toronto, we will be bringing back our Summer Produce Markets and delivering fresh fruits and vegetables directly to families and individuals in underserved areas across the city.
Last year, in partnership with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), along with the support of our Farm to Food Bank partners and wonderful volunteers, we were able to deliver 84,533 lbs of vegetables and 65,525 lbs of fruit to thousands of TCHC residents.
Our goal is to facilitate low-income communities’ right to food by providing a low-barrier way for TCHC residents to access fresh and healthy produce at their front door, and increase food access to people living in poverty, seniors, individuals with mobility issues, and those with limited transportation options.
This summer, we will be delivering thousands of pounds of fruits and vegetables such as peppers, avocadoes, spinach, tomatoes, papayas, peaches, oranges, blueberries and much more!
How do the markets operate?
Daily Bread’s Summer Produce Markets are run by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers who are committed to fighting hunger and poverty. All food available is donated by our generous Farm to Food Bank program partners across Ontario. Markets are set up to have the feel of a farmer’s market and to encourage interaction and community building amongst residents, while providing low-barrier access to nutritious and free produce.
The Summer Produce Markets will take place on Saturday mornings throughout the summer at many TCHC locations in Scarborough and Etobicoke, and each location’s market will be advertised to that community beforehand. Though we aim to serve TCHC residents and their surrounding communities, providing low-barrier service will continue to be a priority for us and so no one will be turned away and no identification of any kind will be required to receive food.
Why is there a need for this type of service?
As poverty continues to move into the inner suburbs (2018 Who’s Hungry), there are fewer social support infrastructures available to service the immediate needs of people experiencing food insecurity. Individuals living with low incomes are underserved, their communities are under-resourced and they have limited access to affordable, good quality food in their neighbourhoods. Travelling outside their communities may be difficult, time consuming and costly, and when transportation is required to access fresh food, we know that many simply go without. By bringing a variety of fruits and vegetables into these food deserts, Daily Bread’s Summer Produce Markets help to lessen the impacts of poverty, while asserting that people living in poverty should have access to fresh, culturally relevant produce in their neighbourhoods.
What is the impact of these markets in the community?
In addition to the distribution of fresh, healthy food to underserved communities who may not otherwise be able to enjoy fresh food, Daily Bread’s Summer Produce Markets will provide food access for individuals who may be facing other challenges as well, such as mobility issues, isolation, mental health challenges, dietary restrictions, few culturally appropriate food choices or those who are simply unable to afford public transportation and have limited access to grocery stores and food banks. By making sure folks can access this farm-fresh produce directly in their backyards and with as few barriers as possible, Daily Bread is facilitating low-income communities’ right to food while fighting the stigma surrounding accessing free food by cultivating a dignified and joyous environment.
These Summer Produce Markets are an opportunity for neighbours to come together, get to know each other and foster a sense of community. Last year, we saw residents exchange recipes, plan shared meals and build bridges across difference.
In addition to the social outcome, there is an important environmental impact as all the food at our markets is deemed surplus food, donated by our fresh food partners, which may otherwise go to waste. In a country where more than half of our food goes to waste, these Summer Produce Markets allow us to tackle issues of hunger in a meaningful and bold way, while also reducing food waste and the cost of wasted resources incurred if that food goes to a landfill.
What are some of the fruits and vegetables that can be found at the markets?
A fresh, colourful and delicious assortment of nutritious fruits and vegetables can be found at Daily Bread’s Summer Produce Markets such as arugula, crunchy carrots, eggplant, juicy tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, apples, limes, avocadoes, sweet mangoes, peaches, papayas, grapes, blueberries, as well as an assortment of sauces, spices and condiments.
What is the monetary impact of these markets for individuals?
Last year, we distributed 156,477 lbs of food to thousands of individuals, equaling approximately 20 lbs of food each and totaling a potential savings of $208 for a family of four. When you consider the fact that individuals living in poverty have only $8.08 per day left for food after paying bills and utilities (2018 Who’s Hungry), these savings are an impactful relief to their cost-of-living pressures.
How can I get involved.
To get involved with our Summer Produce Markets as a volunteer, please visit https://dailybread.volunteerhub.com/
You can also make a monetary donation here.
You can download our Who’s Hungry Report to learn more about food insecurity in our city. Start a conversation with friends and family and advocate for change!