Saskatoon Farmers' Market Building gets new tenant, will run 6 days a week

After a rocky split with a long-time Farmers' Market Building operator, the City of Saskatoon has selected a new tenant.

On Monday, the city announced that Ideas Inc. will take over the vacant city-owned building where the Farmers’ Market Cooperative operated for 12 years.

“It will look quite different from what we previously had in place. Around the world there’s been a big move to what’s called a food hall. That’s much more the vision that we’re looking at now,” the city's planning and development director Lesley Anderson told CTV news.

It would be similar to the food halls in The Forks in Winnipeg, The Market in North Vancouver and numerous examples in Europe, she said.

The new agreement also includes farmer’s market-type vendors selling products such as fresh produce and meat.

The cooperative uprooted from the Riversdale site in late 2019 amid uncertainty about whether it would continue to occupy the building.

The move came after the city indicated it wanted a vendor able to "animate" the site six days a week, something the city says Ideas Inc. plans to do.

"Our vision for this space draws inspiration from national and international facilities that have become landmarks for their respective cities," Ideas Inc. executive director Depesh Parmar said in a news release.

"We are inspired by their ability to create a vibrant, animated space for local communities, and a dynamic and diverse destination where patrons can enjoy everything local from produce and artisan goods, to locally produced food and beverage," Parmar said.

Ideas Inc. is located near the building and has operated the outdoor Street Stall Saturdays and the seasonal outdoor farmers’ market for two seasons at the site, according to the city.

The new market could be operational by fall of 2022, the city said.

"The proposed vision for the Farmers’ Market Building is an animated public facility with vendor spaces and dedicated farmers’ market days. This vision includes the building being fully utilized and open to the public six days per week, year-round," the city news release said.

Parmar told CTV News members of his company travelled and researched the market concept in many cities.

“We’re really happy to bring excitement, vibrancy and animation to the area, the building has been sitting idle for quite some time. The public is excited.

"We decided to get involved because we’ve helped an abundance of small business grow and flourish in Saskatoon and we feel this is an amazing opportunity. It’s a win win for the community and local entrepreneurs and producers,” Parmar said.

Since leaving the city-owned facility behind, the Farmers' Market Cooperative has since reopened in a new location.

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