The University of Melbourne will host a farmer’s market beginning this semester on Wednesdays.
Held on Union Lawn between 11am and 3pm, the market will provide not only seasonal fruit and vegetables but also a wide variety of organic and bio-dynamic products and produce. With the opportunity for students to engage directly with business owners, farmers and product developers, the Farmer’s Market will cultivate a unique, alternative view of the food and farming industry among the University’s students.
“It’s all about dealing our customers directly; being able to meet and explain the products process and my role in it is very important,” explains Laura from Sin-Ko-Nah, a company which manufactures natural tonics and is regularly attending the University of Melbourne Farmer’s Market.
Advertising and promotions is a lucrative option which small businesses rarely have the opportunity to exploit. The alternative that farmer’s markets provide is direct contact, enabling feedback and support to be directly to the farmers, producers and manufacturers themselves.
Though in 2014 only 7 per cent of Australian farmers and food producers dealt solely with farmer’s markets, markets are fast becoming a financially viable alternative for the farming community.
While trade deals made between supermarkets nationally and internationally threaten small farms, farmer’s markets have removed the middle-men with customers interacting directly with the farmers, business owners and the product makers themselves.
Though variety is often less extensive, the produce the markets supply is often exclusively organic or bio-dynamic, having a significantly more positive effect on the environment.
The effect of using bio-degradable packaging, fewer or often no pesticides, nor growth enhancing chemicals means that the products are an environmentally positive alternative to equivalent products in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Farmer’s markets are helping to develop an entirely forward thinking approach to the food and product manufacturing business and its affect on the environment.