The St. John’s Farmers’ Market was initiated in the Fall of 2007 with a single local organic farmer. She wanted to sell off some surplus crop, and so she rented the Masonic Temple in downtown St. John’s and invited other vendors to come and sell their wares. This event was a huge success – it attracted over 500 customers with minimal advertising. Following this market, a group of community members held a meeting to discuss the viability of a regular market in St. John’s. This group organized two more successful markets were held in Fall 2007.
In January 2008 the community members organized a formal Steering Committee. This group’s purpose was to devise a plan of action to make a regular farmers’ market in St. John’s a reality. The committee consisted of six individuals from various backgrounds, including farmers and other potential vendors, and potential customers from the community. This group of volunteers organized the first full season of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market in 2008 with weekly markets held every Saturday from July to November.
During the fall of 2008, the Steering Committee appointed a Consulting Team to look at how to make the St. John’s Farmers’ Market sustainable. The Team presented a report in early 2009 suggesting that the St. John’s Farmers’ Market adopt a Co-op Structure. It was proposed that the Co-operative model would serve both the economic and social developments goals of the Market.
In 2009, the Steering Committee formally incorporated as the Friends’ of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market. This group continued to manage the St. John’s Farmers’ Market during the 2009 and 2010 Seasons. Also in 2009, the Market hired its first employee – the 2009 Market Manager.
Over the next two years, the Friends’ of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market facilitated the development of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market Co-op. During 2010, the Friends’ of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market performed extensive consultations with the St. John’s Farmers’ Market Community and researched best practices from other Farmers’ Markets across North America. The group then presented the Market community with a draft business plan and by-laws for the Co-op.
The Co-op was finally formed November 2010. The Co-op had a founding membership of 25 members, including vendors and consumers. The Co-op’s first AGM was held on May 7th, 2011.
The St. John’s Farmers’ Market Co-op has managed the Market since the 2011 Season. The Friends’ of the St. John’s Farmers’ Market group continues to work and support the St. John’s Farmers’ Market.