News / Ottawa

Short shelf life: Two affordable Ottawa markets risk closing over funding

MarketMobile, Good Food Markets need $100K to survive, say organizers

Two affordable markets, the grocery-on-wheels MarketMobile and Good Food Markets, are at risk of shutting down operations if organizers can't find funding.

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Two affordable markets, the grocery-on-wheels MarketMobile and Good Food Markets, are at risk of shutting down operations if organizers can't find funding.

Two community markets could have shortened shelf lives if organizers can’t secure enough funds to keep the fruit and veggie stands open, Ottawa’s board of health heard on Monday.

Good Food Markets, pop-up affordable food markets that serve 11 communities including Bayshore and Sandy Hill, needs $60,000 for a bare bones budget next year. The grocery-on-wheels MarketMobile still has funds in the bank, but could be stalled if the organization can’t find $40,000 in funds.

The Poverty and Hunger Working Group, the umbrella organization that oversees both markets, pleaded its case to the health board, asking for $100,000 in city funding.

“We’re looking to buy some time so that we can get some feet to stand on and really be able to move forward,” said Kaitrin Doll, the Anti-Poverty Community Coordinator, outside the meeting. “Our goal is to be more sustainable, but that doesn’t happen in eight months.”

Last year, MarketMobile secured $30,000 in funding through the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, via the city. With that, the group rolled out a pilot project in an OC Transpo bus, but later bought a trailer, truck and hired a project officer and driver with a Community Foundation of Ottawa grant.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation also gave $200,000 in funding divided between MarketMobile, Good Food Box and Good Food Markets. But the Poverty and Hunger Working Group was unsuccessful in its grant application this year.

Volunteers and regulars came out in support of the markets on Monday. Beverly Puddicomb said seniors and people on fixed income rely on the affordable food stalls. Others use it simply because a grocery store is lacking in their neighbourhood – Bayshore, which is a "food desert,” according to Charles Black, another volunteer. 

Members of the Ottawa Board of Health made it clear: they want the markets to stay, but there’s no room in the board of health’s $59 million budget.

Dr. Isra Levy, the city’s chief medical officer, said they will continue working with the Poverty and Hunger Working group to find other funding avenues.

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