Kate Raymond says people are rediscovering the importance of food – and it’s time for farmers markets across NSW to unite.
“Food is more than simple sustenance, more than ‘plating up’, more than MasterChef,” Ms Raymond said on National Ag Day, Tuesday, November 21.
The manager of the SAGE Farmers Market at Moruya and others have launched the Farmers Markets Alliance of NSW.
“It is about having the power of numbers and protecting the authenticity of farmers markets,” Ms Raymond said.
“We need to come together and speak with a united voice on matters which affect genuine farmers markets.”
Ms Raymond said the markets had become more popular and numerous in the past 10-to-15 years, as people reconnected with where their food came from.
“This is what eating locally is all about,” Ms Raymond said.
“Yes, it’s about voting with your dollar, but also with what is on your plate; supporting local farmers is a personal connection with community, agriculture and landscape.”
She said people were concerned about the effect of mass-food production on small and family farms.
“People do not want to see small farms get swallowed up,” Ms Raymond said.
However, she said local agriculture could not produce enough of everything.
“There will always be demand for large-scale foodstuffs the supermarkets provide,” Ms Raymond said.
“The market has room for farmers markets and supermarkets to coexist.”
Ms Raymond said a farmers market was a very specific thing and their increasing popularity could lead to compromises.
“People should enjoy the genuine experience a farmers market offers,” she said.
“They want to trust they’re talking to the person that produced the food they’re buying.
“They want the story of the food, they want transparency.”
Ms Raymond said the alliance was a year in the planning and would raise public awareness of what made an authentic farmers market, in the interests of farmers and consumers.
“It is important to remain true to a few basic principles,” Ms Raymond said.
“Promoting these principles will be the main focus of the organisation.”
Ms Raymond said the organisaiton would design an accreditation system over the next year and encouraged markets, stall holders and industry stakeholders to participate in the process.
The SAGE market runs each Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Park.
More information: fmansw.org.au
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