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Farmers’ market making a comeback

Three Sisters Garden in production. Emma McLaughlin The Eastern Door

After several years of hiatus, Kahnawake will be welcoming back its weekly farmers’ market next month.

Led and managed through the collaboration of the Kaienthóhsera working group and Kahnawake Collective Impact (KCI), the market will begin on July 30 and run until the end of September, with the exception of Labour Day weekend. It will take place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Golden Age Club, weather permitting.

“A lot of people are into gardening and food sovereignty in the community. I think it’s a good way to bring everybody together, share stories about their garden, trade seeds, trade produce,” said Martin Loft, food sovereignty project manager at KCI.

“We will provide whatever is in season.”

Food insecurity is prevalent amongst Onkwehón:we communities countrywide, with many lacking adequate access to healthy foods. What’s more, Onkwehón:we food sovereignty principles underline the importance of traditional food availability.

“I feel like with the economy, now more than ever, it’s important for us to get back to more local food systems so we can be self-reliant and sustainable,” said Takariwaienhne McComber, food strategy coordinator at KCI.

The traditional Onkwehón:we trading and bartering system is encouraged at the market.

“I’m excited to see people come together, trade, and share. Bringing back the old bartering system that we used to have,” said McComber.

There is room for approximately 20 vendors each week and the spaces are free. However, vendors will be responsible for their own setup and cleanup.

“A community market is definitely a vehicle to promote agriculture in our community,” said Stephen McComber, who leads the new sustainable development portfolio at the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK), and who is a Kaienthóhsera member.

“I can relate it to the new portfolio. It is sustainable development based on agriculture.”

Stephen attributes the inspiration to the Ste. Anne de Bellevue farmers’ market that works in collaboration with a city councillor, Ryan Young, along with the food basket program from Tourne-Sol Cooperative Farm run by Daniel Brisebois.

The market will highlight everything homemade. This includes homegrown produce from people’s backyards along with homemade craftwork and transformed foods like jams. 

“If people make honey, or make jams, salsas, pickles or even if they do their own beadwork, they can set up there because it’s homemade,” said Stephen.

Produce will also be available from the local Three Sisters Garden.

Along with the vendors, a couple food trucks from the community will be present, and the Golden Age Club will open for refreshments during the market hours.

Along with the farmers’ market, the Kaienthóhsera working group is also focusing on starting container gardens in the community, acquiring a large greenhouse, and continuing food sovereignty education through travels to other Onkwehón:we communities in Oneida, Wisconsin.

If community members are interested in reserving a space, they can reach out to Takariwaienhne McComber at KCI at 450-638-3600. 

This article was originally published in print on Friday, June 30, in issue 32.26 of The Eastern Door.

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