On March 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Huntingdon County Farmers’ Market will be held at the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Center (HAECC).
The farmers’ market is a nonprofit organization centred around access to fresh and local produce as well as handmade goods and artisanal crafts. When market coordinator Cynthia Roy was asked why the market approached HAECC as a venue, she responded by saying the winter market has not been held in Huntingdon since before the pandemic. “We were looking for a venue that was central and close to the community,” she explains, noting that a school environment brings people of all ages together. “We want to create a festive end-of-winter atmosphere, as well as [be] a place where people can buy local and meet with friends.”
Along with all the delicious and nutritious products that can be found at the market, HAECC’s Boutique TO.US will be showcasing a selection of products made by students who attend the Social Integration Studies (SIS) program at the school.
The boutique has an eco-friendly objective, and the students recycle and repurpose items into new products. The overall program goal is for students to build life skills by participating in sustainable projects that help them to build confidence, social skills, and teamwork.
“Everything is handmade, and we are all really proud of our students. These projects are built based on the students’ skills, but also so they discover their own unique talents,” says teacher Victoria Hamilton.
Some of the items that will be available in the boutique include woodwork, fabrics, and everyday items, as well as seasonal products. All the proceeds go back into the program so the students can continue to express themselves creatively.
“Once people understand the meaning of the items; they will fall in love with the students, the projects, and with the creativity behind it,” says dedicated teacher Marie Claire Charlebois.
Charlebois and Hamilton explain that many of the students have blossomed in numerous ways since the start of the program. They say the boutique allows the students to express their creativity, while developing in them a deep inner sense of self by being part of something special and unique.
Roy, who is pleased the Boutique TO.US will be open during the market, also suggests that the event will allow visitors to rediscover the great producers and artisans of the Haut-Saint-Laurent and surrounding area.