Ottawa Farmers' Market and COVID-19

A Statement from the OFM

March 16th, 2020 Update

Thank you to everyone, both customers and vendors, for joining us at the farmers’ market this past Sunday. With wide aisles, spaced out booths, and open doors, we are confident our market is a safe place for the community to find local, nutritious food options in Ottawa. Please know we will be working diligently to strategize ways to continue to offer you this essential food service at this troubling time, so please stay tuned to our updates.

Thank you all, and be well.

OFMA staff

Update: 5:00pm, March 13, 2020

The City of Ottawa has announced that it is shutting down municipal facilities until at least April 5th. As a result we will be postponing our Lansdowne Winter Markets starting March 22nd. We will be back at Lansdowne as soon as we are given the go ahead from the City of Ottawa.

This Sunday, March 15, we currently plan to be open under the conditions outlined below.

 

To our valued Farmers’ Market Customers:

For nearly 15 years, the Ottawa Farmers’ Market Association (OFM) has been a part of the Ottawa community. Our farmers’ markets connect hard working farmers with hungry families in Ottawa and make fresh, healthy locally grown produce and artisanal foods and crafts easily accessible.

To help keep everyone safe at our farmers’ markets we have been in touch with Ottawa Public Health who has reviewed our planning and strategy and agrees that risk at our market remains low and that we are okay to proceed with our normal operations with slight adjustments (as outlined below).

We believe that our farmers’ markets are essential food resources and we are committed to keeping them open for as long as possible. We are also committed to helping to keep our communities safe, so if we are instructed to close our farmers’ market by a local health department due to their concerns about COVID-19, we will comply. If that should happen, we may not have much advance notice, but we will try to let you know as soon as possible. We will also be posting any changes to market schedules, including closures, on our Website and Facebook. If you are unsure if a market is open, we recommend you check https://ottawafarmersmarket.ca/.

To help keep everyone safe at our farmers’ markets, we have asked our vendors to review how they are sampling product until the COVID-19 crisis has passed. There have been no reports of COVID-19 transmission at a farmers’ market but given the concerns we have recently heard from our customers; many vendors will not be offering samples or will have changed how samples may be accessed. We also ask customers not to handle any produce or other goods unless they are in the process of purchasing it.

We will further be postponing some of our upcoming community events, the first of which was set to be the Kid’s Market on the 22nd. We will also not be offering a seating area at the market. We ask our customers to treat the market like a grocery store for the next few weeks. We understand the important community and social aspects of our markets, but in an effort to aid our public health departments in containing the virus, we are hoping that our customers will not spend any more time at the market than is necessary to purchase your regular, safe, healthy and nutrient dense foods and artisanal goods.

We appreciate your patience in these matters.

We encourage you to take simple steps to help keep your family safe:

  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds and be thorough – soaping up the palms of your hands, the backs of your hands, your wrists, and between your fingers.
  • If hand washing is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and apply it liberally on the palms of your hands, the backs of your hands and between your fingers.
  • If you are sick, stay home and ask a friend or family member to pick things up for you at the farmers’ market instead.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • If you need to sneeze or cough, sneeze or cough into a tissue or into the crease of your elbow.
  • Wash all produce thoroughly before using it.
  • Wash your reusable produce bags between farmers market visits. If you bring plastic bags to the farmers’ market for your products, wash the bags and allow them to completely dry before using them again.

 

Just as Ottawa has pulled together in a spirit of community after natural disasters in recent years, we are confident that the we will pull together now to help support one another. We love being a part of the Ottawa community and promise to do our part.

Staff of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market Association.