Unionville residents flocked to the Stiver Mill in May for the inaugural Sustainable Market.
The market was the brainchild of Katie Swailes and Shanta Sundarason with help from Enid Reyes-Martin.
The team’s vision is to address the increasing consumption of fast fashion and the dangerous effects of unethical labour on the environment.
The group is an action-based, non-profit organization made up of youth volunteers from over 10 high schools across York Region as well as many passionate community members.
“Our goal was to educate members of our community about sustainable shopping by shining a spotlight on many hard-working vendors in our community,” Swailes said. “We also had interactive activities such as a pledge board where people created a personalized promise to support one new small business a month, to repurpose their clothing or to boycott certain companies that use child labour.”
The market had 20 sustainable vendors, ranging from food and jewellery to soaps and clothes and a special visit from Courtney Bowles, a young singer who donated her time to this community event.
If you asked any of the vendors how they make their products, then you would have learned that the shoes are made out of recycled tires, the swimsuits made from recycled plastic and more.
“Being a sustainable business it can be hard to compete with large, cheap companies, so it’s amazing to see all these hardworking vendors and the community come together to support and make positive change,” Swailles added. “We are on the path to saving the environment, don’t get left behind.”
After receiving positive feedback after a successful event, the team hopes to run this market again and watch it grow.