Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market Opens in Toronto’s Little Jamaica – Toronto |

A unique farmers market returned to the streets of Toronto’s Little Jamaica this weekend.

Food from Caribbean islands, African countries, as well as local products grown by farmers from the Afro-Caribbean diaspora were offered. It will occur weekly throughout the summer until the end of September.

“We are Canada’s first culturally specific farmers market and we will be here every week for the next 13 weeks on Little Jamaica’s Reggae Lane,” Lori Beazer, who founded the market, told Global News.

The market began in 2017 in the area of ​​Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, opening again in Little Jamaica in 2021. Eighteen independent vendors participate in the market, selling baked goods and fresh produce, as well as imported Caribbean foods.

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“It’s important to the area, it’s important to the community, it’s important to businesses, it’s important that we encourage people to support small and local businesses, especially now,” said Jacqueline Dwyer, one of the founders of the Collective of Black Farmers of Toronto said.

“It’s also important that we eat closer to home.”

The market is located in the Afro-Caribbean cultural district of Little Jamaica, created by the city of Toronto to help preserve the area’s unique history.

The rich Caribbean history enshrined in the Little Jamaica neighborhood dates back to the 1960s, when Jamaican immigrants settled in Toronto, transforming the space into a global hotbed of reggae culture.

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Jamaican-Canadian historian and long-time resident Afua Cooper remembers Little Jamaica’s heyday quite well.

“You were seeing multiple generations in Little Jamaica: grandparents, parents, children, cousins, everyone,” Cooper, a professor of history, sociology and social anthropology at Dalhousie University, told Global News.

“The churches were there, it was a real community place … you could speak your language, you could speak Jamaican Creole or Patois, it was a place where you could just exhale,” said Cooper, who commented on the ‘generosity.’ of cultural capital the neighborhood has also given way.

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Market organizers say they hope the event can help the area recover from the pandemic and years of construction disruptions along Eglinton Avenue.

“The Afro-Caribbean Farmers Market wishes to plant its roots in the heart of this new district,” explains the market’s website, citing the disruption caused by ongoing construction on the Eglinton Crosstown project.

— Archived by Kayla McLean of Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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