Are farmers’ markets a fad or are they proving to be a vital contributor to the wellbeing of this state?
Are farmers’ markets a fad or are they proving to be a vital contributor to the wellbeing of this state? The not-for-profit Adelaide Farmers’ Market in Wayville is celebrating its seventh birthday this month. Seven years of hosting and promoting South Australian farmers and food producers a the Adelaide Showground, which has built a community of 120 SA food businesses, with nearly 3000 members and 5000 regular Sunday shoppers. The Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market Association invests in its constitutional goal, driving the organisation to build a market that is an institution beyond fad and trend. The goal of the Adelaide Farmers’ Market is to support South Australian farmers and food makers. The market incubates food businesses while providing a socially vibrant alternative shopping experience for one and all. Farmers’ markets are for everyone. Long gone are the days when it was only the well heeled at the farmers’ markets looking for organic produce. Now you see many young families, students and seniors shopping at the market at a variety of price points, from a diverse offering of organic and biodynamic produce to small-farm, more conventionally produced stock. Adelaide Farmers’ Market has a strict application process that strives to ensure that all the food sold at the market is grown and produced in South Australia. This means that you will not see any bananas or mangoes at the market. Selection criteria, and the fact you have to be the grower or maker of the food to sell it, ensure that when you talk to a stallholder you are talking to the person who produced that food. This is the retail point of difference and what makes farmers’ markets beneficial for the community. The relationships built over time between city dwellers and regional producers have formed an educationally fulfilling role in people’s lives. Adelaideans are enriched with knowledge of how and where their food is grown. Media prompts health and food security questions and many market customers ask food producers questions regarding how their food was produced: Was it ethically produced? Was it sprayed? Where is it from? Every stallholder has a story and farmers can only bring what they grow, so sometimes they run out of stock. This is another way farmers’ markets deviate from conventional retail. Farmers can only bring what they have grown and that is decided by their farm size and the season, or if they have glasshouses to extend the season. You may hear farmers explaining that red capsicums are not available due to the season, or the new season broccoli is not in yet. Farmers’ markets provide the home cook with seasonal inspiration and a direct insight into what the local climate can produce. There are many ways farmers’ markets have an impact. For example, when you buy from a stallholder all your money goes to that producer and they invest in a region in this state. You are often supporting a family-owned business. Many of the farms are diverse in their production, which is deemed more sustainable. Parcels of South Australian arable land are being preserved and kept viable. Over the last seven years the market farmers have adapted their growing to fit the market’s demands. The consumer has had a direct impact on the small business. All farmers’ markets in South Australia are important. They serve as a community hub for their region and offer opportunities to their local producer businesses. The Adelaide Farmers’ Market works with and supports the Alliance of South Australian Farmers’ Markets and invests time and resources to develop systems that will enhance all markets. To prove farmers’ markets are not a fad but an institution, the Adelaide Farmers’ Market has worked with Prospect Council to open a new branch of the market in Prospect. The Prospect farmers’ market will open in late October. The village-style market will feature 30 sites and will be open from 3pm to 7pm every Thursday. The Adelaide Farmers’ Market is holding its seventh birthday party on Sunday, October 6. You are all invited. Take the opportunity to talk to the producers and find out more about your food, climate and community. Amanda Daniel is the CEO of the Adelaide Farmers’ Market adelaidefarmersmarket.com.au