Comment 6322

By gary buttrum (anonymous) | Posted April 12, 2007 at 05:00:46

i appreciate your concern for us farmers, Concerned, but i wonder where you get your information from. have you been to waterdown lately? do you know hamilton's farming history? do you know how much rent the "Toronto Food Terminal hucksters" pay? do you understand how incredibly difficult it is for a "real farmer" to make a living selling retail? i do. my family has been farming, and selling on markets in hamilton for seven generations. who do you think these so called hucksters buy from in toronto? it's all the farmers who are trying to make a living as well. i got news for all you die hard naive romantics out there longing for the simpler times of days gone by. take a look around, the economics of farming have changed. peoples eating habits have changed. the city is 10 times the area it was when my grandfather was plowing with a horse in west hamilton in the 1950's. it makes no sense for everyone to drive downtown to buy a few bags of vegetables and people wont. all the "real farmers" have moved on with the times and sell wholesale. My family, the Williams, and several others are the exception that proves the rule. we have been able to carve out very small and specific niche markets in order to survive in a vastly different socio-economic system than even 30 years ago.
the solution to the market problem is to support local businesses who support local farmers. the idea of a farmer standing longer hours on the market to sell less to fewer people is absurd. hamilton does need satellite markets in ancaster, waterdown, and such communities, but not to replace the downtown market but to compliment it. waterdown did have a market years ago and i had a stand on it. the market failed; not enough people. it was a lot easier for me to sell to a wholesaler. i could go on for hours about this as it is something i have a great deal of experience with and care a great deal about.
unfortunately, Concerned, this is a large and complex problem that wont be solved by empty platitudes spouted by ignorant armchair critics who dream of picture perfect agrarian past but wont pay a nickel more to support it. nor, unfortunately will it be solved with a few million dollars from the city to fix a problem it partially created 20-odd years ago.

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