If you regularly commute through Downsview Station you may have recently noticed a food market with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Grab Some Good TTC pop-up food market is an initiative by Toronto Public Health, the TTC, and FoodShare Toronto to make healthy and affordable food more accessible throughout the city.
The produce sold at the pop-up market comes directly from the Ontario Food Terminal (which is the main food distribution centre for Toronto,) and from local farms who supply seasonal produce. This guarantees low-cost high-quality fresh produce that is never sitting on a shelf.
The pop-up market has a variety of affordable and fresh produce including: oranges, cantaloupe, watermelons strawberries, blackberries, carrots, kiwis, peaches, pineapples, lettuce, kale, spinach, cilantro, bell peppers, eggplant, garlic, mushrooms, avocados, cauliflower, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and other produce. For commuters that needed a meal on the go there were fresh salads and fruit cups available.
Barbara Emanuel, Manager of Healthy Living at Toronto Public Health explained that, “prices are as low as possible to enable access to fresh produce,” which encourages commuters to make healthier food choices without breaking their food budget.
In addition to providing healthy food alternatives at affordable prices, FoodShare employs community members like Rickysha Jean-Baptiste, a lifetime resident of the Downsview neighbourhood, who works at the pop-up market. Rickysha began working with FoodShare Toronto after completing a placement through the University of Guelph-Humber, where she studies. Her passion for the Grab Some Good market is visible through the friendly customer service she provides to commuters. According to Rickysha, her and her colleagues usually serve over 100 customers in their 4 hours of operation, and consistently receive positive feedback from commuters who would love to see an earlier start time for the pop-up market.
The Grab Some Good pop-up market is a pilot project that started in May 2016, and will hopefully become a permanent fixture at Downsview Station. You can purchase affordable, fresh, diverse, and healthy produce at Downsview Station on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.