Open air farmers' market opens in north end Saint John
Organizers hope market will turn around neighbourhood with rough reputation
Organizers of a new open air farmer's market in Saint John's north end are hoping the initiative will change the neighbourhood's reputation.
Co-organizer Jody Kliffer said, while the area is old and home to low-income families, the negativity is unwarranted.
"Whether somebody has money or doesn't have money doesn't matter. Poverty isn't an enemy. It's a reality of urban life, and we don't need to be afraid of each other, " said Kliffer.
"These types of markets really help neutralize that atmosphere and, I think, give a new meaning to spaces that haven't had much going on in them for many years."
The Victoria Square Farmers Market is one of several initiatives to have sprung up in the north end in recent years. Other initiatives include a youth inclusion centre, a community policing station, and a community centre.
"They do a lot of really good work," said Kliffer.
"We talked to them when we were doing this market to help promote it."
Kliffer helped organize another community-building initiative, the Queens Square Farmers Market, in the city's south end three years ago. He said it has grown exponentially and has brought pride back to the community.
Many of the 35 vendors have come over from Queens Square.
The booths display crafts, baked goods, and fresh vegetables. There were also Musicians.
Donald Rossetti, a regular south end vendor, said like many of his counterparts, he had never thought to head north.
When he did, he was impressed. He said the Victoria Square location is a perfect outdoor location.
"The north end's really worked on the park. It looks great. My wife and I came over and looked at it a couple days ago to see what it's like and all that. I think it's wonderful," he said.
Community pride is on the rise in the neighbourhood, according to residents.
Janice Skinner moved to the area in July, but she's noticed a trend during her short stay in the area.
"It's growing. I love the gardens that are outside," she said.
"I hope to help create a program where we plant the sidewalks up."
The market is a one-day event, but organizers say if response is good, it could grow.
"We want to do Queens Square Farmers Market every Sunday," says Kiffler.
"So we'll have to think about how this works into the math."