Sion Farmers' Market Proposal
29 October 2005
for circulation at the Dunstable School
Historic PLAQUE Unveiling,
2:00 p.m., Oct. 29, 2005:
Hon. Ken Kowalski, MLA, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock
Marcel Gauthier, Councillor,
Division 1, Barrhead County
Bill Wilson, Chairman, Dunstable Communities Historic Society
Richard and Dorothy Arndt, Proprietors, Nakamun Superette
Further to conversations held with some of you, with reference to the plaque unveiling scheduled for the Dunstable School at 2:00 p.m. on October 29, and with the possibility that our MLA may be present for the occasion, I would like to make the proposal at that meeting on the 29th that we try running a Farmers Market at the Sion Hall community property.
The first people to whom I want to show this proposal before the October 29 meeting are Dorothy and Richard Arndt, proprietors of the Nakamun Superette, half a mile south of what I call the Sion Corner.  I have on a  number of occasions suggested to Richard and Dorothy that we should take a good look at the possibility of turning that Sion Hall property into an ultra-modern Farmers Market, and that's what my formal presentation today is all about.
Although neither Dorothy and Richard nor I were able to attend the Historic Society's organizational meeting about a month ago, Dorothy and Richard
do have a very important stake in the Sion Hall property.  I understand they originally put a donation of about $1,600 into that property, and I also get the impression that they favor auctioning it off, as the Historic Society appears now to have been commissioned to work towards that objective, providing the Society can bring together a Sion Community League, which would in turn become the official sponsoring body.
Here's my suggestion:  Let's get a little money coming in.  A little money might go a long way towards solving our problems, and might even help to bring a Community League together.  I am prepared to gamble fifty dollars a month for the next six months, my personal objective being to bring together the makings of a  Sion Farmers Market.  If by any chance we can't do it let's at least give it the good old college try, as the saying goes.
What I propose to do at ten o'clock each Friday morning, on my way to the Superette for my weekly shopping expedition, is to stop by at the Sion Hall as a Farmers Market appointment and experiment.  If there is anyone there to meet me, I am willing to spend as much as an hour discussing matters, or for that matter, actually operating a Farmers Market.
I have been personally operating what I call a Sion Farmers Market for just over three years, on an extremely modest budget of just over a dollar a day.  This is presently in limbo pending the possibility of our doing something on the Sion Hall grounds.  What my Farmers Market consisted of was buying a dozen eggs and two litres of goat's milk yogurt per week from the Tomten-Careless Farm (Sharon Careless), on Range Road 12, on my way to the Superette.
I am now willing to increase that budget considerably, providing we can start operating our Farmers Market from the Sion Hall location, at least temporarily until such time as it becomes obvious that the Historic Society is indeed successfully putting together a Sion Community League which could in due course auction off the property, as Barrhead County Division One Councilor Marcel Gauthier advises me.
Maybe the Sion Farmers Market, which already exists with more than three years of history and is now looking for a home, can help to bring things together.  Rather than letting the property stand there totally idle, will the Province, the County and the Historic Society accept $50.00 a month from me for the next six months, to let us operate a Farmers Market from this location temporarily and experimentally?
I would suggest that we set up a Board of Governors consisting of Historic Society Chairman Bill Wilson, Marcel Gauthier on behalf of the County, Richard and Dorothy Arndt as major stakeholders in the project, and our distinguished MLA Ken Kowalski (who is probably in a position to delegate this responsibility to a civil servant who would act on his behalf).  Should this Board of Governors simply rule against a Farmers Market then naturally I would be forced to discontinue my fifty dollars per month payments.
I see no reason why we could not extend the Farmers Market role to include other functions such as entertainment and sponsored events of various kinds.  These could include benefit concerts for designated charities, in which case the Farmers Market would simply take a ten per cent cut to defray its own expenses as operator/custodian of the property.
We could even use the grounds and premises for various kinds of auction sales, and certainly there would be nothing to prevent us from selling second-hand farm implements on behalf of participating farmers.  The scope can be as all-encompassing under the auspices of a Farmers Market as it would be under the auspices of a Community League.  In fact, the Farmers Market could in due course be turned into a Community League.  This provision should be included in the Charter and Bylaws of the Farmers Market.
I'll look forward to discussing this further with interested stakeholders  on October 29 if not sooner.
Look forward to seeing you then.
With best wishes,
Len Stahl
Managing Director
Sion Farmers Market