We’re back from Rome and have some exciting news to share! Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia, as the co-founding member of Canadian Farmers’ Markets, recently spent five days working with farmers’ markets leaders from around the world at a separate event alongside the United Nations Food Summit pre-summit event. During our time there, we’re proud to announce that we played a founding role in the launch of the first-ever World Farmers Markets Coalition! This gives our little province of less than a million people provincial, national, and international leverage to help grow the positive impact of our sector right here in Nova Scotia.

Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia (FMNS) has been a leader in Canada’s farmers’ market sector since our inception in 2004, and now we’ve been given an incredible opportunity to be a leader internationally. Since our inception, FMNS has helped grow our province’s farmers’ market sector well over threefold, with our cooperative now home to over 40 farmers’ markets and our province now home to the most per capita in Canada. 

Here at FMNS, we’re always looking for ways to collaborate with our peers to learn and share best practices and help our province’s farmers’ market sector thrive, and that’s what led us to co-founding Canadian Farmers’ Markets (CFM), a nationwide coalition with representation from every provincial farmers’ market association in Canada. 

CFM was founded in November last year with our friend Chris Quinlan from MarketWurks. Since our founding, CFM has met every month, sharing resources, challenges, opportunities, and ways that our respective provinces can help each other thrive. CFM’s mission is to serve as a unified, nationally represented coalition of farmers’ market sector voices that support thriving local food systems and the economic, social, and cultural prosperity of their individual communities across Canada. FMNS is proud to be its founding provincial farmers’ market association.

It didn’t take long for CFM to start making an impact internationally. Just a few short weeks ago, CFM was asked to support the formation of the first-ever World Farmers Market Coalition, at an inaugural launch that coincided with the United Nations Food Summit pre-summit event. Without time to waste, CFM co-founders Justin from FMNS and Chris Quinlan, along with Peter LeBlanc from BC Farmers’ Markets, promptly accepted the invitation to join Campagna Amica, an Italian organization that represents their nation’s farmers’ market sector, to meet with farmers’ market sector representatives from around the world in Rome. The five days that followed brought together farmers’ market leaders from countries including Ghana, Denmark, Norway, England, Australia, Canada, the United States, Georgia, and Italy.  

Founding members of the World Farmers Markets Coalition and United Nations Deputy General Amina Mohammed.

During our time in Rome, we first introduced the world to the World Farmers Markets Coalition at an event hosted at Rome’s flagship farmers’ market in Circo Massimo, which was attended by UN Deputy General Amina Mohammed. We set up an “international farmers’ market” within the famous Roman farmers’ market, featuring products from our respective nations—including dulse and Tidal Bay wine from Nova Scotia, of course!

On the fifth and final day of our meetings, we met at Campagna Amica headquarters along with members of the UN FAO, serving as the inaugural first meeting and launch of the World Farmers Markets Coalition. With funding and support from the FAO, this new global coalition will serve as a forum for collaboration and the exchange of ideas, best practices, and knowledge. The World Farmers Markets Coalition will also be able to work with governments and associations from around the world to encourage and develop progressive procedures, practices, assistance, and resources to support farmers’ market managers, vendors, and farmers throughout the world.

FMNS Executive Director Justin Cantafio representing the Canada booth at the “international farmers’ market” event that first introduced the world to the World Farmers Markets Coalition at the Circo Massimo Farmers’ Market in Rome.

FMNS is beyond thrilled to have played a founding role in the establishment of a national organization in the form of Canadian Farmers’ Markets and to receive the honour of helping to establish the first-ever World Farmers Markets Coalition. Through these national and international coalitions, we can share our lessons learned from the incredibly important work we do right here in Nova Scotia, such as our Nourishing Communities Food Coupon Program, as well as learn from other organizations, ensuring that can bring knowledge, ideas, and opportunities from all over Canada and the world right here to our province.

You can read more about these exciting new developments and review the full World Farmers Markets Coalition report by clicking here

Some of the founding members (Ghana, Georgia, Canada, England, Italy, Denmark, Norway, and the United States), along with members of Campagna Amica and the UN FAO, at the inaugural first meeting of the World Farmers Markets Coalition on July 27, 2021.