To Market to Market

More and more people are turning to locally grown produce supplied through the growing number of local markets. Here we chat with Bellingen Farmers and Producers Market organiser, Louise Hensby about her community vision for the future

Tell us about the Bellingen Farmers Market?
LH: Responding to a need for a weekly, consistent place for local only growers and food producers to sell their produce, we decided to start a local farmers market every Wednesday. Patrons can rely on getting fresh and affordable local food every week. We recently changed location to the Bellingen Market Park where we have the glorious sun to keep us warm in winter and the shade of the trees in summer.  So from 2.30-5.30pm every week of the year you can come down and grab your weeks veggies!

You have a community table where anyone with a green thumb can sell their home grown produce?
LH: Yes, it’s a great initiative run by certified organic grower Tim Cole. The idea is to inspire people to grow a bit more food than they need for their family and bring to the market to sell. It has to be grown without the use of chemicals. The table has a great reputation as having a variety things, so patrons love seeing ever changing produce. It is also a place for people who have an interest in a more serious production to start selling on the table without having to have a whole stall themselves. We are starting to see young people sell their surplus produce there, which is exciting. It’s a great example of a key part of local food system development to see the interest in connection to land, seasons and sharing and selling food. 

How important are these markets to the local economy and community identity as a whole?
LH: Authentic farmers & producers markets are integral in the local food system and community. A central marketplace and seeding ground (mind the pun), they are a space for growers to make a viable and fair income as they don’t have to sell only wholesale or compete with other sellers who bring in food from the capital city markets. Local farmers are some of the hardest working people in the world and often earn the least for the work they do. Our Wednesday market supports 25 families/ individuals directly. It’s also a place of connection for farmers, food producers, as well as the broader community. The social, emotional, environmental and economical impacts of local markets are immense. 

Where do you see the your Markets a year from now?
LH: I hope we will see the number of patrons who frequently attend and buy from our passionate grower and producers double. This will enable us to attract more producers and strengthen the food system immensely so that future generations know their local food system is secure. We need to see this at all food markets in our region so that the children of today are able to access high quality local food throughout disasters of all kinds. 

Where: Bellingen Market Park (next to the tennis courts)
When: Every Wednesday 2.30-5.30pm
Info: bellingenfarmers@gmail.com or call Louise on: 0402 564 206
Check FaceBook / Instagram for regular updates. Website: www.bellingenfarmesandproducersmarket.com.au

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