Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wither the local produce market?

Saturday morning, and I picked up my shopping bag and headed over to the produce market in the nearby seaside town.

This little market started in the grounds of the town pub, which overlooks the sea, about 18 months ago. The market features a number of small stalls, as well as a fruit and produce stall and a fishmonger. I go to top up my fruit and veg, and buy whatever I need that my garden isn’t producing. I like going because:

The fruit/veg is a local, and grows most of his veg locally. This is a bonus when you are trying cut down on your food miles. I also like to put as much of my food dollar as I can into local pockets.
It saves me, and lots of others, trekking into the nearby regional town about 15 kms away, where the fruit/veg choices boil down to Woolworths/Coles.
Over the last 18 months I’ve gotten to know the grower and his family, and it’s very nice to exchange pleasantries and talk about what’s good, the weather and life in general.
By shopping here, I cut down drastically on packaging, as most of the veg is weighed individually and packed straight into my bag.

Okay, so today I’m angry. All over the country you read about farmers’ markets opening, but it seems in my part of Australia, this can’t be allowed to happen. There was a petition to sign today, because it seems the local council is not going to approve a development application from the pub to hold the market (eighteen months after it started, mind you), and it looks like the market may be a thing of the past. I am flabbergasted. I can’t think of any good grounds for this. The market fills a need in a small town, and does so with what I can see as little disruption to the residents.

So of course I signed the petition and will try to get to the community meeting on Wednesday night. I’ll also shoot off an email to the new mayor, who got up recently on “green” and “community building” issues. I want to know, “What gives?”

This isn’t merely an issue of where I buy my vegies. It’s about preserving choice, and allowing people an alternative to big-business food retailers.


Linda said...

I can feel for you. I live in a country area and know how much these things can mean to keep us happy and plodding along. I hadn't been to Coles and went probably in November, and I was so shocked at buying my sausages in those black trays for only a few sausages.

Could you buy such things as sardines and whitebait there? We loved doing that and we haven't been able to buy it the last few times we tried.

Paola said...

To tell you the truth, I've never been to the fishmonger at the market. Action Man is a bit of a fisherman, so I rarely buy fish. However, I love sardines and whitebait too and will buy them if I see them. I think they are seasonal, but I have no idea when that season might be.