Guelph/Eramosa council renews farmers’ market agreement

But two councillors did not vote in favour of the renewal

BRUCEDALE – Guelph/Eramosa council has renewed its agreement with the Rockwood Farmers’ Market, but the vote to do so was not unanimous. 

During the council meeting on April 2, councillors Corey Woods and Bruce Dickieson did not vote in favour of renewing the three-year agreement. Both expressed concerns about the discounted rate the farmers’ market pays to rent the parking lot at Rockmosa Park.  

In 2023, the Rockwood Farmers’ Market paid $150 per market day to rent the lot during the three hour market.

This year, the market will be charged $155 per day, to reflect the increased Consumer Price Index (CPI). The rate is then set to increase in 2025 and 2026, based on the CPI. 

The market rate is a flat rental fee of $450 per day. 

“I support the farmers’ market. I don’t want anyone to think I don’t support the farmers’ market,” Woods said. “But I think they should be paying market rate for the facility.”

Dickieson, too, repeated that he’s “not against farmers’ markets … but I don’t think they should be treated special. Whatever the rate is for everybody else, I think they should be paying the same.

“You’ve got your grocery store that’s there every day of the week, paying taxes,” Dickieson continued, “and I just don’t think its fair to subsidize [the farmers’ market]. And I don’t mean the farmers, I mean whoever’s organizing it.”  

Woods is also concerned about the cost of providing a township employee during the market.

Parks and recreation supervisor Jeff Meyer confirmed to the Advertiser a township staff member is present for the first two hours of the market, to support with anything that comes up, and to do a chemical test on the Rockmosa Park splash pad.

For councillor Mark Bouwmeester, the rental rates are reasonable, and he’s fine with subsidizing the market. 

“This is all volunteer driven. This is an amazing service,” he said. “We are paying literally peanuts. So I too support the farmers’ market, but I would support them at these rates any day of the week. 

“I think [the township] wins in terms of what we get versus what it’s costing us.” 

Mayor Chris White said he is also comfortable with the rates. 

“I’ll echo everything Mark said. I think it’s a service that the community enjoys. [And] it’s an empty parking lot otherwise,” he noted. 

“It is very popular. There are a lot of volunteers there. It’s become a bit of a centrepiece in the summer.” 

And “The problem with the rates going up is that they may not be fiscally viable if you push this up too high,” he added.

Many farmers markets in the area are given “full municipal support: staff and dollars,” White said – and Guelph/Eramosa subsidizes “quite a number of things that occur in the township.” 

Councillor Steven Liebig did not join in the discussion, but did vote in favour of renewing the agreement. 

The Rockwood Farmers Market will be held every Wednesday from 4 to 7pm from June 12 to Oct. 9.

Full-time vendors include Cedar Valley Honey, Whitetail Bakery, LangSon Farms and Pillitteri Estates Winery, along with 16 others. 

For more information about the market visit