When the Market got Wheels: Volunteer with Us!

What started as a desire to keep a 12-year community tradition alive in the uncertain times of social distance measures has become so much more. 

Back in the winter, members of the newly re-formed DECA Green committee were busy applying for grants, planning for park events like a Solstice Bike Rodeo and canning workshops, and working out how we would sew reusable bags for market goers. 

With the onset of the pandemic, we realized three things:

  1. The market as we had planned it was not going to happen this year, but we wanted to keep the tradition going in some way.
  2. Food security was more important than ever and Ontario farmers were going to need our support.
  3. We still wanted to work together to make our community a better place, even more so in a time of insecurity and distance.
Mother/daughter all-star volunteers sorting your produce in the basement of the Danforth Mennonite Church.

We knew we had to redirect our energies, and with the support of Farmers’ Markets Ontario (who manage the market vendors) we pivoted to our current delivery model. We are using the Danforth Mennonite Church basement for organizing food from the farmers, and volunteer drivers are delivering to your home. All orders are made through the Open Food Network, which allows individual farmers to control their own stores (so you get the freshest food and they get money directly!). The order window for Thursday is the previous Friday at noon until Tuesday at noon. And if you’re having trouble making OFN work, we have a video for that!

We wanted to keep the community focus of the market alive and so we pivoted from solstice bike rallies to using the Park People grant to match the community’s PWYC donations to The Neighbourhood Group, an organization that runs community programs like Meals on Wheels and food banks for seniors. And we put our sewing machines to work making not reusable bags but fabric masks that we sell in our DECA store.

Total funds raised in our first week? $900. And we keep contributing to the Neighbourhood Group each week with proceeds from your delivery donations and mask purchases.

Almost ready to go out!

As we go into week 3 of this new model, we are gratified by the positive comments from customers and farmers. We have fun as a volunteer team (DECA board members, their kids, helpful neighbours) and we’d love to have you join us! If you can spare two hours on a Thursday to sort orders or run deliveries, please let us know by signing up on our Signup Genius page.

With your support, each week our market grows bigger and more vibrant. And as much as we are excited to adapt to these times, we are also looking forward to next year, when we can picnic together again in East Lynn Park.

Remember this? We will have it again soon!

DECA Pride

Pride is different this year for so many reasons.

This is the fifth year that DECA Pride has tried to bring Pride fun to this neighbourhood. We’re not gathering to hear queer writers, or to celebrate Pride at the market. Folks are working on an amazing virtual event, hopefully coming in the next few weeks but stay tuned for details.

A few things to let you know about for THIS weekend:


We can’t have our selfie booth at the market this year (launched by our friends at Silly Goose Kids in 2017!), but a few local queer-owned businesses have created their own where we are invited to show our Pride with an awesome backdrop. Please visit:

Silly Goose Kids
Old’s Cool General Store
The Pink Studio Toronto
The Workaround

Take a pic in these spots and if you want to, tag it with #eastendproud or #decapride so we can see the love!


Thanks to the generous help from Nathaniel Erskine-Smith’s office and to Shamie at Silly Goose for taking care of the order, DECA Pride purchased several hundred rainbow flags that we are distributing with the help of local businesses to show our Pride in Danforth East.

You can grab your flag from the following places (first come, first served):

Silly Goose Kids
Old’s Cool General Store
PRESS books. coffee. vinyl
East Toronto Coffee Co

Last but not least, hopefully you’ve see our East End Proud posters around. Many thanks to Angela Wagner from Umlaut Design for the design and to the Amanda at The Workaround for printing so many copies and to everyone who put them up!

Thanks to everyone for being part of our efforts to build community within our community.

Black Lives Matter.
Happy Pride.
Stay safe!

Share your Destination Danforth ideas at DECA’s meeting with Councillor Bradford

DESTINATION DANFORTH Community Meeting with Councillor Brad Bradford – June 22nd, 7 – 9 p.m.

Do you want to know more about the DESTINATION DANFORTH project?

On Monday, June 22nd, Councillor Brad Bradford and the Danforth East Community Association (“DECA”) will host a community meeting to discuss the DESTINATION DANFORTH project. The event will take place virtually from 7 to 9 p.m. and interested individuals can sign up here – registration is required to attend.


The DESTINATION DANFORTH project is a proposed investment of approximately $4 million on Danforth Avenue between Broadview Avenue to Dawes Road.
Some of the changes that are being proposed include: full-time parking & loading spaces, streetscape improvements, opportunities for more and expanded patios, a separated bicycle lane in both directions and adequate pedestrian space for circulation, safety, and physical distancing on sidewalks.
The project will be delivered in multiple phases, starting with a proposed initial installation in July 2020.
The DESTINATION DANFORTH project is related to the “Danforth Study” that was launched in 2019 to create a vision and plan for the Danforth into the future.
The Danforth Study was paused in light of the COVID-19 pandemic but recently, City Council has voted to accelerate key projects in Toronto to support economic recovery and address emerging transportation issues.
More detailed information about the DESTINATION DANFORTH project can be found here.

Why is DECA co-hosting this event?

DECA’s mission includes building a stronger, more vibrant, safe and walkable community and empowering neighbourhood residents through community involvement and open consultation.
The guiding principles of DECA include encouraging revitalization that reflects the values of the neighbourhood – DECA has consistently supported a “complete streets” vision.
This community event will provide an opportunity for community members to provide their feedback about the DESTINATION DANFORTH project and ask questions of Councillor Bradford – open discussion is encouraged.

Event Details

When: Monday, June 22nd, 7 to 9 p.m.

How: A virtual, online event.

Who: Community members who have questions or feedback about the DESTINATION DANFORTH project or want to learn more.

Questions: submit in advance to the Facebook event page or by email to Councillor_Bradford@toronto.ca

Market Kick Off – Suppers for Seniors Fundraiser

Danforth East Community Association is pleased to be part of the effort to keep our East Lynn Farmers’ Market alive this season.

Park permits are closed at the moment so our farmers have created online shops and grouped together on Open Food Network to allow us to shop weekly for their fresh produce.

DECA volunteers have committed to deliver orders to your door every Thursday for a Pay What You Can delivery.

With help from TD’s Park People grant, this week, DECA is matching your delivery donations to go to The Neighbourhood Group’s local senior’s food bank and local Meals On Wheels services for seniors in need:

Suppers for Seniors.

How can you participate?

  1. After you shop at the Online Market, visit the DECA Store and select your Pay What You Can Delivery Donation. All proceeds will go to The Neighbourhood Group AND this week DECA will match your donation!
  2. Visit the DECA Store and purchase one of our adult or child-sized masks made with love by DECA volunteers using fabric generously donated by FabricSpark (all veggie prints, of course!).
  3. Donate at our fundraising page!

The East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market Is Going Online

As the lockdown continues and each month seems to bring ever more difficult news, we’re excited to share something positive: the East Lynn Park Farmers’ Market is going online to safely connect you to our farmers (and the food security they represent). The market, like all DECA initiatives, has always been about community building, so we’re equally excited to share that the market will enable you to help your local at-risk seniors every time you shop.

How Does It All Work?

The market opens THIS Friday on Open Food Network (we’re getting everything ready and we will share the link on Friday morning). You’ll be able to shop Friday until Tuesday noon, then sit back and wait for a DECA volunteer to deliver your groceries to your door on Thursday afternoon.

Opening Week Kick-Off: Suppers for Seniors!

With help from TD’s Park People grant, we’re opening this year’s market with a fundraiser to support The Neighbourhood Group’s local senior’s food bank and local Meals On Wheels services for seniors in need: Suppers for Seniors. How can you participate? Donate at our fundraising page! You can also donate in lieu of a delivery fee ($5-15 suggested) at the DECA store at the market. Looking for masks? You can also donate by picking up a beautiful adult or child-sized mask made with love by DECA volunteers using fabric generously donated by ever-awesome FabricSpark (all veggie prints, of course!). Delivery donations and mask proceeds will be collected for The Neighbourhood Group the whole market season.

Mixed Veg Mask sewn and modeled by ELP Farmers’ Market’s Rebecca!

MARKET DELIVERY BORDERS: Victoria Park to Greenwood and O’Connor to Lake Ontario

ORDERS: Fri.-Tues at 12 noon (June 12-16 for delivery on June 18)

DELIVERY: Thursday afternoon

For weekly updates on what’s happening at the market, follow DECA on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

We are entirely volunteer-run! If you would like to help out in any way, please contact us at market (at) deca.to. We’d love to have your help.

Learn more about the work The Neighbourhood Group is doing to help our community.