Vendors at the Queen’s Farmer’s Market were notified last month that a new policy prohibits the sale of hot food. It’s a decision that has negative consequences on vendors and risks the market’s future prosperity.
In letters sent to vendors, Catering manager John McKegney stated the guiding principles of the Farmer’s Market include supporting local produce — something hot foods fail to do if they use non-local ingredients.
Paulina’s Curry Mix is one of the affected vendors at the market, and owner Vipin Kumar told the Journal his ingredients for hot dishes are purchased from local stores such as Tara Foods on Princess Street.
The ban on hot foods has been stifling to local businesses, with Paulina’s reporting a 40 per cent drop in sales since the policy was put in place. It’s counterintuitive to the market’s support of local businesses.
In a statement to the Journal yesterday, executive director of Housing and Hospitality Services, Bruce Griffiths said that a vendor’s right to sell hot food is being reassessed with new information the vendor has provided.
Other vendors selling cold foods will be reassessed once more information has been gathered as to whether or not there products are local.
Hot dog stand Scottie’s Street Treats has been exempt from the policy and is continuing to sell hot food. Scottie’s uses local ingredients and so has been allowed to remain in operation, according to Griffiths.
The Farmer’s Market is a cherished and valuable part of Queen’s, giving students a chance to interact socially and economically with local vendors. It gives a boost to many small businesses.
The absence of hot food further limits the number of non-Sodexo options on campus.
Reducing potential options is something that’s contrary to student appetites. If vendors prove they respect the spirit and principles of the Farmer’s Market, then they should be allowed to sell any food they choose.
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