Since 1803 farmer’s markets have been present in Toronto on a formal or informal basis. The Toronto Food policy Council has been involved in advocating for the creation of farmers’ markets across the city in public parks and at community centres since its inception. Between 2009 and 2013 the number of farmers’ markets in Toronto grew by 30%. This follows a province wide trend of increasing the number of farmers’ markets. In Ontario the number of farmers’ markets has grown from 60 to 180 since the early 1990s.
In Toronto, the sale of food requires a specific license and farmers’ markets must meet strict Public Health guidelines. In 2006 a staff report was issued to the Toronto Board of Health about the Amendments to Ontario Food Safety Regulations Exempting Farmers’ Markets. This allows for certain exemptions to food safety rules that otherwise govern the sale of food in grocery stores or restaurants. These exemptions allow for a more flexible definition of a “food premise” under the Food Premises Regulation outlined by the Board of Health and allow farmers to sell products grown on their farm or to sell food produced in a commercial kitchen.
The Toronto Farmers’ Market Network provides a list of farmers’ markets in Toronto, as well as links to local food resources and publications about farmers’ markets. The Livegreen Toronto Map offers a virtual map with the option to view the locations of farmers markets in the City.