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Unionville’s sustainable market returns to fight fast fashion

Unionville residents will be able to support sustainable vendors this year at the Unionville Festival as the sustainable market will be back for its second year.

The initiative is the creation of Katie Swailes and Shanta Sundarason and their team of youth at Hand in Hand. The team’s vision is to address the increasing consumption of fast fashion and the dangerous effects of unethical labor on the environment.

The group is an action-based, non-profit organization made up of youth volunteers from more than 10 high schools across the York Region as well as many passionate community members.

“Our goal is to educate members of our community about sustainable shopping by shining a spotlight on the many hard-working vendors in our community,” said Swailes. “We also have interactive activities such as pledge boards where people can create a personalized promise to support one new small business a month, to repurpose their clothing or to boycott certain companies that use forced labour.”

The market will feature more than 20 sustainable vendors, ranging from food and jewelry to soaps and clothes.

“Being a sustainable business, it can be hard to compete with large, cheap companies, but we want to educate and encourage our community to choose local first and foremost but to also be aware of where their purchases originate from,” Swailes added. “We are on the path to saving the environment and we don’t want anyone left behind.”

“Encouraging thrifting will also be a large part of the market so bring your $5 notes and find a special bargain,” said group member Ami Shah.

According to Sundarason, the first sustainable market received positive feedback last year, and this year’s market will be part of the Unionville Festival on June 3 from 9 am to 5 pm at the Stiver Mill on Station Lane.

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