Farmers Market backpeddles on charity


The Eric Gutknecht Memorial Bursary is a charitable organization that helps kids in Kemptville – from both of our high schools, North Grenville District High School and St. Mike’s – to fulfill their dreams. Each year, a bursary is awarded to a student from each of our High Schools. It was established in memory of Eric Gutknecht, who died unexpectedly at the age of just 17. Eric was unable to follow his dreams, but because of this bursary many deserving kids in our community are being given a chance to follow theirs.

One of the means of funding Eric’s memorial bursary has been through the sale of jams and jellies, which Eric’s parents make themselves and sell at the Kemptville Farmer’s Market. They’ve been doing so since Eric’s passing. So, they’ve been vendors since 2011, duly paying their fees for their table at the market as well as the additional fee for market plates day. Many of the ingredients they use are grown on their own property.

Imagine how disheartened they were to have their application as a vendor at the Kemptville Farmer’s Market for 2018 be rejected. Apparently, the reason given was that the Gutknechts were not producers, but, in fact, the Market provided the family with four different reasons, all of which changed over time. This patently unfair decision to reject the application to have a stall at the Farmers Market led to some angry reactions among those who knew about it, and it seemed to be the arbitrary decision of a Board that had lost touch with the community and the original rationale for a local market in the first place.

Word of this anger clearly reached the Market’s Board, because Billy Gutknecht has now received a letter from the Market’s Manager, Kelly Broad, stating that the Gutknechts may be allowed to sell their jams once more, providing they state publicly that it was an error on their part in their original application that caused the difficulty, and not the arbitrary action of the Board.

That this is not the case seems not to trouble the Board, who are only looking for a way to back out of their poorly-received decision. The Eric Gutknecht Memorial Bursary depends to some extent on the sales made at the Farmers Market, and is a positive benefit to many young people in our community. It is to be hoped that the Kemptville Farmers Market people recognise that and take steps to ensure that the Gutknechts are allowed to continue their long-standing participation in this community project.


  1. I’m curious as to whether more information is available on this story, as it seems strange to me to consider that the issue has been solved per se if the Gutknecht’s still have to “eat it” in order to become Vendors again?

  2. How, then, would you define journalism? Restating whatever a source – politician? – tells you? Remember the days when “journalists” just wrote down whatever the politicians told them? You have to trust people to think and make up their own minds, and that means laying out facts and interpretation, opinion and footnotes, like a good historian or journalist should. Why does your definition of journalism have more credibility than someone else’s? Objectivity is fundamentally impossible in these circumstances: as soon as one decides to write about something, one has decided that it is worth writing about, more than some other issue. If that’s the case, why not be honest and transparent about what you believe about things? Name an objective journalist: do they write for the Post, or the Citizen? For Post Media, or Metroland? These are the real facts to acknowledge, not some fantasy about neutral writers who report faithfully on every side of every issue, with perfect balance and “fairness”.

  3. When my mother told me about how these poor folks were treated I was furious! We were headed to the farmers market and after hearing that we went to a different town instead, I needed to calm down before attending our own farmers market. I was sad to see that the lovely folks with the jams and jellies were not in attendance. I think what the board had done is shamefull. What consitutes a producer? These folk use ingredients grown on their property which is… right a producer and again they make their own jams and jellies…. producer. All I can do is shake my head. I’ll hop off my soap box now.


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