Photo courtesy of SAGE Farmers Market.
A new state-based organization has launched to represent and develop an accreditation system for authentic farmers markets in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The Farmers Market Alliance of NSW (FMANSW) is a coalition of market managers, farmers, and fair food advocates working to raise public awareness of what makes a farmers market genuine and support local farmers and producers in the region.
“Consumers want a genuine farmers market experience,” said FMANSW President Kate Raymond, manager of the SAGE Farmers Market in Moruya, NSW.
“People want to feel connected to their local agricultural community and trust that when they go to a farmers market, they’re talking to the person that produced the food they’re buying, not a wholesaler. They want the story of the food; they want transparency. They don’t want to feel like they’re being duped. If we lose the trust of consumers, our local food economies will feel the consequences.”
According to the Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, 50 percent of surveyed farmers markets in NSW believe there is a need for an authentication system that distinguishes between markets maintaining a direct link between producers and consumers from those that permit resellers. Nationally, more than 75 percent of farmers markets agreed that an authentication scheme is needed, although views on how that scheme should work or be implemented differ significantly.
FMANSW’s major objective is to devise a system of accreditation that ensures customers get to buy directly from a local farmer or artisan producer. This accreditation system will work to establish best practice guidelines, provide support and guidance to farmers and specialty producers, and promote the value of local economies.
By establishing a farmers market accreditation system, FMANSW is working to protect the reputation and integrity of Australian farmers markets and preserve the trust placed in them by the public.