Currently, the steward of Market City TO, an emerging initiative supported by the Golden Horse Food and Farming Alliance, is focused on working with and collaborating with market managers, operators and the City of Toronto to strengthen Toronto Public Markets. And build the mid-size food distribution infrastructure rural and urban entrepreneurs need, and Toronto residents deserve.
Marina is a community builder and entrepreneur by nature and a designer and marketer by trade. Less than two years after moving to Toronto, she started her own business in the food industry and joined the Toronto Kitchen Incubator housed at FoodShare Toronto. As part of her business plan, she started selling the product at farmers’ markets. Being part of that weekly community ritual of bringing people together around healthy local food and activating a public space helped her realize she had found “her tribe.” A place where her passions and approach matched the values of other small entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations in the food sector.
In 2010 she joined the Evergreen Canada team as a Food Program Manager. This work provided an opportunity to have a more significant impact on the local food community. In that role, she developed the food and public market strategy and action plan for the site, resulting in a portfolio of programs that promote food literacy, community development, local entrepreneurship, and placemaking. This role included managing a year-round weekly farmers market, that under her leadership, was recognized as the City’s largest and most highly regarded market. Furthermore, she developed the public market program with a combination of revenue tools contributing to Evergreen’s Brick Works social enterprise. Promoted to Evergreen Senior Program Officer and part of the consulting services team, she led projects in urban innovation and community economic development in Toronto.
A member of the Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) since 2013, she created the TFPC public market working group in 2015. In that role, Marina collaborates with city staff and sector stakeholders to strengthen public markets in the City. In 2019, Marina spoke at the 10th Public Market Conference in London, UK, organized by Project for Public Spaces, representing Toronto’s Market Cities project.
In 2017, Marina received the Canada 150 Outstanding neighbour award by MP Carolyn Bennet for her community work. Marina has a BA in Graphic Design from the University of Buenos Aires and a Master of Environmental Studies and Planning at York University, Toronto, Canada.
In early 2020, as TFPC public market project lead, Marina secured Toronto’s role as one of the three pilot project cities in the Market Cities Initiative led by Project for Public Spaces. In partnership with HealthBridge Foundation of Canada and Slow Food International, the initiative aims to advance a new vision for public markets systems at the scale of cities, regions, and beyond. Under her leadership, she coordinated the research and engagement that resulted in the first City of Toronto public market map, an international report and the Market City TO action plan soon to be released in the City.
In 2021 she joined the St. Lawrence Market Precinct Advisory Committee at the City of Toronto. Currently, as part of sûrkl inc, an organization focused on projects that advance urban innovation in the areas of placemaking, public markets and food systems, she collaborates with a range of food and public market organizations, charities, and businesses to co-design solutions that enable a more robust and equitable regional economy and inclusive public space.
We work with Toronto’s intrepid market managers, vendors, city staff and policy-makers to activate the power of markets.
Public markets & food systems specialist