TIMMINS -- As the Anti-Hunger Coalition prepares its new Good Food Market program in Timmins, the organization is asking the community for ideas through an online survey.

The program will have the mobile market rotate between four neighbourhoods in the city with less geographical and financial access to fresh produce one day per week.

"What we'll be doing is bringing wholesale produce items to these neighbourhoods and setting up, basically, a mini market," said the organization's executive director, Jennifer Vachon.

An accessible market

During summer, Vachon said the weekly market will resemble the city's popular Urban Park Market. It would ideally continue throughout the winter, she said, with support from community partners, all the while incorporating COVID-19 regulations.

But as part of its planning process toward a November launch, the coalition is appealing for public input through an online survey until Sept. 24.

It asks participants to indicate in which city neighbourhood they live and suggest ideas for where and how the mobile market should be set up.

"We want to know from the people in those (neighbourhoods) where they see it occurring," said program manager Amber McLaughlin. "Maybe some little notes about why they think it should be at this place or what specific time they would be willing to attend."

Input from the community

The South Porcupine area, in particular, has been in need of a market since its former Metro grocery store closed in August 2019.

One resident, Rene Larabie, said having a new store anywhere in the area would be a welcome development.

"(We could) save on gas ... we've got to do our groceries in the south end," Larabie said, outside Porcupine Mall. "We come here, all we got is Giant Tiger, a little bit of items."

McLaughlin said the Anti-Hunger Coalition's survey has received at least 50 responses, many with refreshing and eye-opening ideas like situating the market by public transit stops, where possible.

Once launched, she said the market will follow COVID-19 regulations and will have volunteers to guide patrons.

"We will have tables and tents set up with the produce available on each table," McLaughlin said. "We'll have signage to identify the prices of each item and potentially show the savings that individuals are attaining at the market."