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Meet Our Earth + City Staff - Sinclair

by Ashley Sweetman November 06, 2019

The staff at Earth + City are super passionate about creating the best products they can using local, organic and seasonal produce, made with sustainability in mind.

Get to know the awesome people who prepare the food items that you love and find out how they joined the Earth + City team. This week we chatted with Sinclair, one of Earth + City’s lovely market vendors.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

My name is Sinclair and I love talking about myself so clear your schedule. I’m currently in my final year of the Women and Gender Studies undergraduate program at the University of Toronto. Over the course of my degree, I was presented with a number of social justice issues and movements with which I could have potentially engaged. It was only during my time working for a couple of vegetable farmers at several markets around the city of Toronto that my appreciation for delicious, nutritious, locally-sourced veggies coalesced with my interest in food/environmental (in)justice and community building. Needless to say, working within a community and for a company that shares these interests and commitments has been a delight. I’m also a vegetarian (no shade to the carnivores), and so working with a company that specializes in delicious plant-based foods is an ideal match for me. When I’m not at work, I enjoy singing melancholic folk songs, playing the guitar and ukulele poorly, gardening, critiquing the hegemony, and wearing all black because it speaks to me.

How did you start working at Earth + City?

I had been working in the farmers’ market community for several seasons prior to working for Earth + City. I loved the sense of community and comradery amongst the farmers, vendors, market staff, and customers. After taking a year off work to focus on my studies, I felt drawn back to the scene. I had befriended one of Earth + City’s market vendors, Kate, a couple years prior and she had spoken highly of her experience - namely that Earth + City provided an inclusive and accommodating work environment for their employees. So when she mentioned that they were hiring for the upcoming year, I jumped at the chance, dropped her name multiple times in my cover letter, and was hired for the 2019 summer season.

What is your role with Earth + City?

Well my official title is “Market Vendor,” but that feels too pedestrian. I prefer “Market Ambassador” or “Market Envoy,” if you will. While I do occasionally work in the kitchen prepping our goodies and making sure that everything is ready for market, most of my time is spent on the front lines, transporting our products to, and setting up our stall at, various markets around the city. Considering that many of our products are made with ingredients bought at the market, I am also tasked with building and maintaining relationships with other vendors and farmers. However, my main role at Earth + City is engaging with our customers, fielding any and all questions, comments, and concerns, and building relationships with our regulars.

What do I love about food?

What I love about food is its communal and relational dimensions. For me, growing, tending, harvesting, and cooking food is a social practice and, when done with others, is a form of community-building and connection-making. I also think that food production and preparation is a potentially spiritual process. Our current food system disconnects us from our food sources. Oftentimes, we don’t know how it was grown, who grew it or who prepared it, which, for me, results in a feeling of alienation. Reconnecting with food, whether that means growing or preparing it myself, or having a relationship with the people who did produces a sense of intimacy with food and, in turn, myself. Not to sound clichéd (though I am in so many ways), but I am literally what I eat. And so for me, developing a healthy relationship with the food I consume is a part of developing a healthy relationship with myself.

What is your favourite E+C product?

One of my favourites is the Cowgirl Cookie. The banana and date are the perfect guilt-free sweetener. I secretly pray that one falls apart during the production process and ends up in the staff fridge. Is that bad?

My other favourite - and I am not alone in this considering its popularity at markets—is the seasonal pesto, in particular the garlic scape, dill, and parsley variation. Why use the bulb when you can also use the flower bud? Waste not, want not.

Which season is your favourite?

My favourite season is Fall. I find this time of year to be a great time for reflection, contemplation, and starch. I love the variety of fall vegetables that Ontario has on offer: pumpkin, butternut, acorn, and hubbarb squash, potatoes, yams. Not only do they make a killer centrepiece, they are so versatile and I find they make for really good comfort food as the weather cools down and I settle in to hibernate. On a non-food related note, I also love fall fashion. I am no stranger to a black wool knit toque - My Toronto hipster aesthetic demands it 

What is your favourite food? 

Can I skip this question? No. Okay, well if I had to choose, I would probably say Lebanese-style falafel with an abundance of pickled turnips, beets, and cabbage. Once I ultimately made the decision to become a vegetarian, I lived off of this particular dish for months. It made the transition slightly less jarring and therefore it will always hold a place in my heart. 

Ashley Sweetman
Ashley Sweetman


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