Guelph Farmers’ Market Expression of Interest

10C’s Vision and Proposed Activation

Are you a current  Saturday Market Vendor? 10C would like to hear from you! Please reach out and share your ideas through our Vendor Feedback Form.

10C welcomes the opportunity to respond to this Expression of Interest (EOI) and to collaborate with the City of Guelph, Economic Development/Tourism to co-create a multi-purpose, indoor-outdoor community market that is thriving with new partnerships, enterprises, and active uses 7 days per week. 

Building on our success as a not-for-profit placemaker, a social change and food enterprise hub, and our ability to create community engagement and connection, 10C proposes to “activate” the market in multiple phases, as a quality public place, a part of a Downtown Guelph food district, that represents the heart of food and culture in Guelph-Wellington. 

We will build vibrant and active uses in the short-term which will position healthy food, food access and circular socio-economic principles at the centre. More importantly, 10C will commit to a collaborative process that will see the market developed into its FUTURE form, with an ambitious site and grounds redevelopment, undertaken as a Public / Not-for-Profit / Community Partnership (PNCP). 

Under 10C’s stewardship and community activation with several collaborators, the community will see:

  • Activation of the Market Building and Grounds 7 days per week, within a structure that makes 24/7 uses a possibility.
  • Use of 10C’s flexible membership / activities / sliding-scale not-for-profit enterprise framework which allows for accessible, affordable and free use by multiple organizations and individuals, and includes methods to generate expanded revenue sources for collaborators, market presenters and vendors.
  • An open process to intentionally engage food, farming, social, arts and cultural communities in Guelph-Wellington as to possible uses, including a comprehensive set of enterprise models, learning and mentorship opportunities, and partnership development based on shared interests. 
  • Our commitment to investigate the feasibility of redeveloping the market site. We propose creating a community vision for a facility with expanded open and accessible access, including urban agriculture and cultivation opportunities. In such a facility, cultivation and processing of crop products would be done on site as a demonstration of urban agriculture, providing public validation of operational and enterprise models. Implementation will involve collaboration through the PNCP with all levels of government, developing scale-appropriate funding and financing methods, engaging private and foundation investment, and raising community philanthropic support to create a best-in-class community-run market and urban agriculture facility. 

Reflect, Attract and Celebrate the diversity of our community.

In phase one, we will support groups, organizations and individuals to co-create innovative programming. 10C’s ‘awesome sauce’ involves creating enterprise models that support sharing, flexibility, trust and reciprocity. We are excited at the possibility of holding the framework to support wide uses that embrace diversity, promote inclusion and create equitable systems. 10C will work in allyship with individuals in the local First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to embrace reciprocity and be guided by the spirit of the Two Row Wampum and Dish With One Spoon Covenant. We will strive to create open, meaningful engagement and work to remove systemic barriers from our Western systems. The first steps will be to expand the days in which the facility will be in use, for example, cyclical events based on cultural patterns, food skills and training days, and plant-based and local food days. Cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary programming will open up potential to create uses that engage, reflect, and attract the diversity of people in our community.

In Guelph-Wellington, Food will be viewed as a right. A robust, active community-based market will support and enhance priorities around food.

10C works within an ecosystem of organizations and individuals who have been tirelessly advocating for food rights. Actions to enhance priorities around food include:

  • Supporting the continued and expanded success of the Saturday Market.
  • Adding increased uses reflecting, and extending, the Refreshing Our Local Tradition Goals. This layering of new proposed uses, including digital architecture and shared services, would take place in gradual steps, as 10C and collaborators become oriented to the existing culture, goals and operations of the Saturday market.
  • Collectively exploring uses and models to support improvements to food access, food security and food sovereignty. We know that 12-15% of people in our community do not have access to healthy food and food relief work happens throughout Guelph-Wellington every day of the week. The Market facility could be used to increase food access, as well as raising collective awareness, creating solutions and extending advocacy to end local food insecurity at the policy level and at the dinner table.  

A vibrant community destination with FULL use of the facility and grounds.

By using 10C’s placemaking framework and operational structures, the market site facility could be successfully activated with 7 day per week and 24/7 uses. In the expanded operations, we would widely engage farmers, new vendors, food producers, not-for-profits, social enterprises and the people living and visiting in Guelph-Wellington to fully use and experience the Market as a public space.

There are MANY groups, including established relationships with the University of Guelph, Canada’s Food University, that could be involved in an expanded Market offering. 10C will commit to leveraging existing relationships, technology, membership tools and space-sharing policies to provide a flexible container for these operations and community uses to develop, grow, and flourish. 

We can see:

  • Engagement of 200+ NFPs and member groups and community partners, including arts and cultural activities and space uses, integrated into food-focussed offerings;
  • Collaborating on partnership applications to create funding streams and enterprise models for program development to provide a robust offering of training, incubation and acceleration services, including network supports and championing a variety of new and emerging food businesses.
  • New food programming offered by emerging enterprises, student-led activities and other vendors who are currently unable to access the Saturday market;
  • Food preparation and uses of the existing Market kitchen, in tandem with 10C’s commercial kitchen; a network of shared kitchens, and increased café hours to coincide with increased programming hours.
  • Finally, we have early commitment from PRIVA, to provide initial feasibility analysis and support from the related charitable organization (the Sustainable Urban Delta Foundation) to assist in developing our long-term vision. This project is within their mandate to show how urban environments can be transformed, helping city governments, organizations and citizens to create tangible results. A redeveloped state of the art ‘Smart Market’ that also GROWS food, could be part of the direct action Guelph can take towards providing enough food for all. 

10C in Partnership and Collaboration

10C brings curiosity, connection and expertise to the development of the community enterprise model for this expansion. In a typical year, 10C supports 2000+ events annually, for close to 30,000 participants, with the momentum of increasing uses prior to the pandemic. 

After leading 10C through its own building expansion phase and activation, we have the experience, skills and reputation to pursue this project. The Acker’s redevelopment at 42 Carden Street was a $5M project implemented on a shoestring budget and financed in real-time. We undertook this challenging adaptive reuse project from 2016-2018, and transformed an essentially vacant unserviced 150+ year old property, into a fully accessible vibrant community asset. 10C’s home is now ready for a future phase, including completion of a roof-top greenhouse and convening space to further support local food work happening at 10C through the Nourish kitchen. 

We can see a vibrant future for the Market building and grounds. There is much that we can do together. 

Project Leads: 

  • Julia Grady, Co-Founder and Executive Director, 10C 
  • Katie Baikie, Associate Director, 10C 

This project clearly dovetails with 10C’s involvement in Our Food Future, our leadership in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and our dedication to revitalizing the downtown core through our placemaking activities. 

Financial Assumptions:

  • The Selected organization will have access to comprehensive information about the market facility and operations, including market vendor contracts, site plans and constraints, environmental assessments, financial and operating plans.
  • The Selected organization would have autonomy to establish a new business model, including developing new revenue streams, that support the community impact goals.
  • The use of the property would be offered at no cost in exchange for achieving and developing impact reporting to community goals. 
  • 10C would enter into a formalized Community Benefit agreement with the City of Guelph that would include a financial framework, commensurate with the effort required to achieve these goals, and support a healthy transition of leadership over the first 2 years, with staged 5 year, 10+ year agreements possible. The Community Benefit agreement would be updated at key stages.
  • The City of Guelph would fully maintain the building facilities, including any planned or unplanned maintenance or repairs to core systems and infrastructure.
  • In relation to the long-term vision presented by 10C, the City would partner on external funding applications, as part of the Public-Not-for-Profit / Community Partnership (PNCP). It would also prioritize these applications in the context of other demands. 

Community Collaborators (thus far): 

In the limited time available since this EOI was launched, 10C has actively worked to co-create this concept with several community groups. We plan to engage and develop this conversation further across a wide stakeholder and community base. Supporters include:

  • The SEED – a do-it together food movement, working toward a connected community where everyone has access to healthy food. 
  • Guelph Tool Librarya lending library of tools where you can borrow items for food preparation, food preservation, gardening, renovation.
  • Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition – neighbourhood groups that are inclusive, engaging, responsive and build a sense of belonging. 
  • Guelph Arts Councilchampioning and growing opportunities for Guelph’s creative community through communications, resources for learning, and cultural programs and partnerships.
  • Innovation Guelph – supporting entrepreneurs with mentorship and business support programs and services to help innovative enterprises start, grow and thrive.
  • Guelph Chamber of Commercethe voice of business in the Guelph dedicated to advocating, connecting, and convening on behalf of our members.
  • Sustainable Urban Delta Foundation – aims to create a world full of food producing cities in order to address urgent social and ecological challenges.
  • PRIVA – a global high-tech company that develops hardware, software and services in the field of climate control, energy saving and optimal reuse of water.
  • Local citizens, urban agriculture cultivation specialists, technical advisors and supporters.


Media contact and more information:
Julia Grady, Executive Director
[email protected]
Phone: (519) 780-5030 x 1 (this line will auto-forward to Julia’s mobile)

Katie Baikie, Associate Director
[email protected]

Related Documents:

  1. 21-071 – 10C Shared Space – Farmers Market – EOI Response (PDF)
  2. Refreshing Our Local Tradition project webpage
  3. Guelph Farmers’ Market: Refreshing Our Local Tradition report (PDF)
  4. Council report for July 5 Committee of the Whole

If you have a community-based ideas or would like to follow-up, please contribute to this idea-collection form: