THE Victorian government is supporting with funding of $20,000 a project to link South Gippsland’s three farmers’ markets.
Announcing the funding injection, Deputy Premier and Member for Gippsland South Peter Ryan said there was vast community support for the three well established farmers’ markets at Foster, Koonwarra and Coal Creek, but there was no structured coordination between them.
“The South Gippsland Farmers’ Market and Produce Network believes it would be more professional and effective to work as a group where possible,” Mr Ryan said.
“Cross promotion would be a very effective tool to increase the number of stall holders participating and highlight the broader activities of the local food networks beyond the specific markets.
“This will directly address the new retail opportunities for farmed produce and value-added products and, with increased supply and recognition of local foods, boost the local economy.”
Mr Ryan said the South Gippsland Farmers’ Market and Produce Network project would also provide resources that could be accessed by all three markets.
“The resources include combined promotion, regional produce mapping and information about existing and prospective local stallholders,” he said.
“This would also help create linkages between the broader network of farmers’ market participants and the local hospitality, tourism and retail industry.”
Mr Ryan said farmers’ markets provided a fantastic opportunity for producers to sell their produce directly to consumers.
“Farmers’ markets provide a healthy, affordable and fresh food supply for the community, and enable people to get more information about the availability, seasonality and origins of their food,” he said.
“Farmers’ markets also provide producers in a region with an opportunity to work together in identifying new business prospects, particularly in relation to supply chains.”
Mr Ryan said the Victorian government funding for the South Gippsland Farmers’ Market and Produce Network project would be provided to South Gippsland Shire Council. He said the project was expected to be completed by the end of this year.
The Prom Country Farmers’ Market is held in the grounds of the Foster War Memorial Arts Centre on the third Saturday of each month. The next market will be on Saturday May 19 from 8am to 12 noon. A farmers’ market is held at Koonwarra on the first Saturday of each month and at Coal Creek Korumburra on the second Saturday.