SLOW Food Perth supports regular farmers’ markets to enable producers to promote good, clean and fair local and regional foods and inform consumers about quality seasonal, fresh primary and secondary foods and their health benefits.
Markets provide good, clean and fair producers with additional marketing opportunities and enable Slow Food Perth to promote the organisation’s philosophies, projects and membership. Farmers and makers’ foods must taste good; their production methods must respect animals, the environment and people’s health; and all participants producing the food must be fairly rewarded for their work.
Support for farmers’ markets is soaring. In the United Kingdom the first farmers’ market was established in Bath in 1998. There are now 300 markets in the UK. The London Farmers’ Market is a small company which manages the 12 London markets held inside the M25 ring road. These began in 1999. Producers participating in the markets must observe a set of rules and grow or make their goods within 100 miles of the M25. It is estimated that in the past eight years the London Farmers’ Market has returned more than Â£3 million [AUD $8m] to the rural economy surrounding to Greater London.
In the United States there were 300 farmers markets in 1975 compared with 3100 today. In California’s Orange County is a range of farmers’ markets certified by the US Department of Agriculture, and there are now 500 regular farmers’ markets in California alone. The CFMs, as they’re called, provide a direct link between farmers and consumers, offer alternative marketing channels for produce outside existing market and distribution systems, and bring business to the communities in which the markets are staged.
In Orange, a regional city in the New South Wales central west, a farmers’ market hosted by a Rotary Club is held every month and now attracts 50 stallholders. The same occurs in Wagga Wagga where about 40 stallholders gather month by month.
Slow Food Melbourne has won a City of Yarra Community Award for its farmers’ market at Abbotsford Convent in inner Collingwood. In Western Australia, the Albany Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday. It is now it is sixth year.
Demand for farmers’ markets and produce is being driven by the re-establishment of ‘village economies’, where consumers are turning away from chainstore supermarkets and buying fresh, local produce at source, which aids the community economy.
Local farmers’ markets