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Farmers’ markets producing the goods

Farmers’ markets producing the goods

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Despite the power of supermarkets, the alternatives are going strong, SIMON WEBSTER reports. 

My local organic farmers’ market is celebrating its 12th birthday this week. SBS TV star Costa Georgiadis will be calling in to Lismore Organic Market (pictured) in sunny northern NSW to help with the celebrations, no doubt bearing an enormous, freshly picked bunch of infectious enthusiasm.

You can’t buy everything you need at the market. It isn’t a supermarket. But that’s part of its appeal.

While Coles and Woolworths are being accused of ripping off farmers and bullying suppliers, farmers’ markets keep quietly going about their renaissance. Back in 1999 there was only a handful of them in Australia. Their numbers had gone up to 35 by 2003, and today there are about 150, according to Jane Adams, of the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association.

“There’s been a change in societal thinking,” she says. “We weren’t talking about food miles five years ago.”

Not only do farmers’ markets give growers an outlet for selling varieties of food valued for flavour rather than transportability and shelf life, but they give the growers a fair price for that produce too.

Meanwhile, shoppers get to buy real local food, sit down for a coffee, a feed and a chat, and listen to some live music while they’re at it. For a moment you could almost forget you’re a consumer, and start thinking of yourself as a person again.

 So congratulations to the Lismore Organic Market. May you and others like you have a long and happy life. More farmers’ markets can be found here and here.