Blog March 15, 2011
In Memoriam: Elizabeth Harris, Our “Market Matriarch”
It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Elizabeth Harris on Monday, March 7, 2011. Elizabeth was an important member of the Evergreen family, playing a key role in the launch of the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market. Elizabeth’s passion for supporting local farmers and her ability to bring people together was legendary.
In early spring 2007, we asked if she’d help us get our market off the ground. In those early days, Evergreen Brick Works was still a collection of deteriorating heritage buildings and a big idea. Elizabeth immediately saw the potential. She quickly went to work calling on her extensive networks of farmers, many of who had worked with her for years at Riverdale Farmers’ Market (which she’d also started). About 20 farmers and vendors joined us that first year. It felt like a long shot—an abandoned site off the beaten path. In fact, many came out as a personal favour to Elizabeth.
Under Elizabeth’s leadership, the market quickly became a success, as it is today. A weekly gathering of community members who pay homage to the bounty of Ontario’s rich and fertile soil, and individuals who have turned their life’s passion into sustainable operations using artisanal growing and cooking methods.
Everywhere Elizabeth went she knew people whose lives she had positively affected in some way; they were farmers, chefs, writers, photographers, and people who shared in her passion. She had the sharpest memory, and always a wonderful story to tell.
We at Evergreen will remember her for her sparkling blue eyes, sharp wit and contagious energy that permeated across the market floor and beyond. We will miss being challenged by her in ways that were provocative and playful. We will miss her dearly.
Next time you visit Evergreen Brick Works, take the time to visit the sign in Elizabeth’s honour on the side of Building 5. You can also share your stories and read about how she touched others at elizabethrosalindharris.wordpress.com.
Elizabeth died peacefully at home in Cabbagetown surrounded by her family. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Elizabeth and Aileen Harris Fund supporting CASA. Call Tom at TD Waterhouse 416-308-3458.