Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Western Canada Archives >
Oct 28, 2008 12:09 PM

Calgary Farmers' Market - closing at its current location

The word is final, Canada Lands is not renewing the lease for Calgary Farmers' Market.
We all hoped it wasn't turn this way but I guess the money and power of large corporations and developers is still stronger than the thousand of voices and the hundreds of vendors that the market brings every year.

I guess we only hope that now that they need to move later next year, they can just move somewhere in the city and not to some long-distance drive like the development in Balzac or some cookie-cutter community.

As visitors to the market and citizens of this great but yet narrow minded city, let's rally up to give the market a good run for its last year there and let's give our support to all the vendors.

We will miss you but let's hope we can visit you in the later future on a location that's convenient to the residents of this city.

I invite everyone in this blog community to share ideas on how to make their last year at the Base a successful year!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Okay, I'm down about this, but 2 things for now:

    1. Canada Lands is building a high-density, pedestrian-friendly, sustainable community at the Currie site. This is as far from stererotypical Calgary narrow-mindedness as can be imagined- in fact this is one of the most forward-looking, progressive brownfield reclamation projects in the world.

    2. The market has seen this coming from DAY ONE. From DAY ONE. They never had an infinite lease and ALWAYS knew that the entire Currie site was slated for this development.

    What I hope for now is that the market can go into a site in East Village, Stampede Village or maybe in Torode's huge project off Spiller Rd. Maybe even Eau Claire. There are options and now is the time to find them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Manzo

      The subject for this thread is so misleading. The news is, in fact, very good for the Market ... and for fresh & local food fans in Calgary. This is an extension to the lease by a year. Great news! But now the Board of Directors at CFM needs to get serious and find a new location. Many of them are still hanging on to the idea of building a brand new Market, one that shareholding vendors can own. First, if they signed a deal today, 2 years is not enough time to build out a new Market, so the transition from Currie Barracks to the new Market won't be seamless. Second, to raise the money required for a new CFM in the current economic climate just isn't going to happen. The solution is to lease existing, developed land, but the big question is still, Where? With a single vision of the Market's future, I can see it happening; but as John Manzo says, they have known about this for 5 years and nothing has been done about it. They are indeed their own worst enemies. However, I am so happy and grateful that CFM and the great food available there will be here for at least two more years.

    2. Who exactly should pay for the market to stay in this new development? Would you have the developer pay for a 3 day a week tennant that requires a large amount of infrastructure? Or would you rather have the City pay for this and pay higher taxes?
      I don't understand this feeling that this is a slight to the citizens of this city to lose this place. It has been around for what, maybe five years? And in that time it has shifted focus from a local farmer's market to more of a niche/higher end food market.
      I think there are plenty of alternatives out there to this market, which are far superior.

      1. Not so fast!!! Looks like we've got 2 more years, according to the Sun

        The Calgary Famers' Market lease refreshed
        UPDATED: 2008-10-28 13:24:23 MST

        By SHAWN LOGAN

        The Calgary Farmers' Market has been granted an 11th hour reprieve, receiving an extension to its lease until 2010 after earlier today being told they would have to find a new home by next year.

        The Canada Lands Company, the developer of the former Currie Barracks land that housed the market, had a change of heart after earlier in the day announcing it would not extend the lease that expires in October 2009.

        Instead, following a last minute meeting with market organizers, they have opted to allow another 13 months for it to continue.

        Darrell Komick, the market's general manager, said the new agreement will allow time to find a new location for the popular bazaar, which he said is already in the works and may be announced in the coming months.

        1 Reply
        1. re: newJJD

          This is win-win! The CFM can seamlessly move into new digs but that has to be started YESTERDAY and in earnest.

        2. Meh. I've been growing my own food for years now. I have little need for fresh produce from any grocery store. I suggest other people start doing the same. Local is my backyard.

          I'd also raise chickens, but unfortunately the city does not allow this. Yet.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Shazam

            I agree to the extent that people need to reduce their carbon footprint. I'm a big fan of local produce, and living in an apartment (and moving on a regular basis for work) does not really allow for me to grow my own produce. I frequent the farmer's markets where I am currently living and do my best to support. Would I love a garden..who wouldn't. I do my best by baking every thing from my daily bread to birthday cakes (from scratch) and I've just started down the road of pickling and canning.

            So while I do agree that we need change, it needs to come in many forms. Why not trade a fresh loaf of bread every few days for a helping of your neighbors cucumbers or tomatoes. Some fresh meat for a winter of canned vegetables.

            1. re: raidar

              Living in an apartment is one of the best things you or anyone can do to reduce carbon footprints. Singe-detached dwelling are unsustainable- and I say this living in one (albeit one in the inner city, and I use my car maybe once a week).

              1. re: John Manzo

                Couldn't agree more. I just wish I was in a place long enough to create my balcony garden of leafy greens.

                1. re: John Manzo

                  Living in an apartment, depending on the exact fuel sources that the suburbs rely on, being totally, utterly dependent on others for food production, isn't sustainable either. The only truly sustainable method of living is rural/agrarian.

                  Any single-family dwelling house in Calgary has enough land to grow more than enough food for the entire family and for a geothermal heating system and more than enough roof space to allow for solar panels. Also, lawns, shrubs and trees use carbon dioxide (among other benefits). I myself have nine trees and about 50 shrubs on my property.

                  As well, I find that many so-called "green" people fly. A lot. Jets use an incredible amount of fossil fuels and spew massive amounts of particulate matter and greenhouse gases.

                  They also don't compost. The #1 source of greenhouse gases in Calgary are the landfills, from anaerbical decompostion of organic matter.

                  1. re: Shazam

                    I'd say the most sustainable option is to commit suicide. But also, being childless is a good thing.

              2. re: Shazam

                Sigh, I too wish the city would allow chickens and pigs, I understand not allowing 500 chickens in a backyard but hell even in conservative UK you can have chickens, pigs and turkeys in your backyard (just watch F Word).

                Sadly in this city money generally wins out over logistics. To build a true sustainable community means having a local farmer's market but like a previous comment, a market needs to be everyday not 3 days a week. Oh how I miss the daily city markets in Europe....

                1. re: slingshotz

                  Actually it's "logistics" that is winning out here- you cannot have a sustainable community that sees 4000 cars invade it every weekend. Calgarians won't surrender their cars and so the market has to be planned around it. Logistics wins.

                  But as I say above, Garrison Green will be an absolute jewel. The CFM will survive in some guise.

                  Now let's move on. There is no sense in crying over spilt milk here.

                  1. re: John Manzo

                    Something I don't understand (and I apologize if this has been dealt with on other threads) is why CFM is only a 3-day a week operation, especially with the development planned at Garrison Green. Vancouver, Seattle, Ottawa and so on and so on have active markets that while of course busier on the weekend, are open week long. I am just questioning the assumption that this market is only viable as a 3-day a week business. Can't Calgary sustain a week long market?

                    1. re: alley

                      Just a side note to be anal, Garrison Green is a completed development nestled in the corner at Crowchild and Glenmore. The
                      Currie Barracks development is know as just that; "Currie Barracks".

                      1. re: alley

                        Of course it can. And if the CFM would've agreed to be open all week, then they would've stayed where they are. Problem being, most of the vendors refuse to be open all week (there were a lot of angry vendors last year with they started being open on Thursdays).

                        1. re: alley

                          In my opinion, Calgary could easily support a week-long Market; we're over a million people now and still growing. But it isn't about what we, the people, want; it's about what the current vendors at CFM want. And many of the current vendors are smaller independent farmers who work their farm AND work the Market. They have ligitimate capacity issues. To run a week-long Market means there must be a change in vendors and farmers who sell at CFM. With the current CFM Board of Directors that's not going to happen. Maybe later.