Two Rivers Neighbourhood Group launched an outdoors low-priced and local food and culture market on Wednesday in an effort to tackle food insecurity and foster community in the Guelph neighbourhood known as the Ward.
The effort is facilitated by Neighbourhood Support Worker Alisha Arnold, who says her and a group of volunteers aim to keep the Stone Soup Market open on a weekly basis starting at 3 p.m. every Wednesday for as long as possible. They want it to become a “communal hub”.
The group purchases food from the Elmira food auction and resells it at the same price in an effort to keep costs low for the community and to only break even. Nearly all the food up for sale — largely vegetables, fruit and other fresh items — is from local farmers.
“Starting mid-June, there’s going to be a small organic section that is from a couple organic growers,” Arnold told The Post, adding on to several tables and a tent found at Tytler Public School just east of downtown Guelph.
Local businesswoman Charlene Downey, who has been involved in the market for several years previous before its hand-off to the neighbourhood group, added that they will have “local artisans come in and have tables” to sell their product.
At 4:30 p.m., the volunteers will also provide free homemade soup and bread as part of the market, only requiring those interested to bring their own plates and utensils.
Charlene Downey, who also ran for Council in 2018, explained the significance of the market’s name, Stone Soup.
The name comes from a European folk story that sees hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys.
Downey explained it as a man or woman who needed just a stone bowl, a spoon and some water who would then go and sit in the town square.
The townspeople in the story would point out that it would not make a good soup and the individual would say “all I need is a potato” and interchange it for different items. The story is described as a moral regarding the value of sharing.