This last year has challenged us in many ways, circumstances from family dynamics, to schooling or a change/loss in employment. CBC states “24[%] of Canadians indicated that the pandemic has led them to reconsider their professional future and think about switching jobs.”
I personally have experienced the opportunity of exploring other areas of interest within my own life. This last winter, I discovered the enjoyment of preserving vegetables, resulting in canning over 150 jars to share with family/friends. I was a little reluctant to express my new hidden talent, but now you all know. In this day and age, there are so many new ways to start a business with considerably less risk. Online crowdfunding sites where you only need an idea that the public helps fund. Groups like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and even our local Alberta Boostr, all are successful in supporting new entrepreneurs. I may be old fashioned, but I feel that human interaction is just as important as the products that are produced. That is why, if elected, I wish to create a year-round market in the heart of Leduc that focuses on “Supporting Local, Supporting You”.
Leduc is fortunate enough to have access to a variety of agricultural resources. According to Leduc County’s website, there are 1,590 farming operations in the County ranging from grains, fruit production, livestock and more, all of which create a capital market value over $3 Billion! “Farmers’ markets can serve to facilitate market entry for regionally defined ‘local foods’ through the provision of a socially motivated infrastructure that supports local food distribution and consumption (Connelly.2011;Eaton.2008;Spear.2000)”.
According to Project for Public Spaces (PPS), “Public markets are not just places of commerce. Successful markets help grow and connect urban and rural economies. They encourage development, enhance real estate values and the tax base, and keep money in the local neighborhood. Public markets also offer low-risk business opportunities for vendors and feed money back into the rural economy where many vendors grow, raise and produce their products.” Lencucha’s (1998) survey shows that “Alberta vendors report a 40–80[%] increase in returns using the farmers’ market as their distribution channel.”
From my standpoint, there are numerous benefits to markets, from fresh healthy food, market testing and providing important revenue streams for residents. I align with PPS and see the most important impact is the “way markets serve as public gathering places for people from different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic communities. As one of the few places where people comfortably gather and meet, markets are our neighborhoods’ original civic centers”.
However, a study by Research Gate reveals “Alberta vendors selected lack of government support” as one of the top constraints for markets. In communicating with the Mayor of Banff, Karen Sorenson, they have permanently closed a main street in their downtown core to establish a promenade market area. Although the Town of Banff has dedicated nearly $10 Million towards this project, they have already received millions from private investment. Creating a year-round marketplace is a part of my platform for supporting Leduc residents following the effects of the pandemic, with the goal to further build community and create additional revenue streams. In an email to Karen, I indicated that their development looked amazing, but wait ‘till you see what Leduc has planned.