But…new support is on the way
LOCAL pro-sustainability community group Transition Gawler is making a list-ditch effort to save the Gawler Farmers’ Market, after the weekly event was abruptly cancelled by its managing committee.
Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers’ Market (ASFM), which has managed and run the local market since its inception in January 2016, has announced that the market has been closed down for a “winter recess”, due to declining attendance numbers by both stall-holders and customers.
Saturday’s market was the last one to be held by ASFM, which has approached Transition Gawler to take over the event’s future management.
Transition Gawler will run a one-off farmers’ market next Saturday (June 24), to complement the Natural Resource Centre’s Understory Project plant pick-up day at Pioneer Park, before investigating how it can re-boot the market for spring.
Transition Gawler member Kathryn Warhurst said the local market has got potential, but the current business model under which it’s been operated – which includes being managed out of the city, instead of in Gawler – hasn’t been working.
“Local producers selling to their local community is the freshest and most sustainable way, and a farmers’ market is a wonderful community builder,” Mrs Warhurst said.
“But for it to be a wonderful, busy market, it’s got to work, it’s got to have a lot of variety, it’s got to be at the right location, it’s got to be held at the right time and the right day – all those kinds of things will contribute to its success in the future.”
Transition Gawler is now working with Gawler Council to obtain grant funding, from Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA), to investigate potential business models for the market’s ongoing operation.
Council will also consider providing $5000 in its 2017/18 budget – to be adopted later this month – towards the investigation, which will seek feedback from stall-holders and customers as to how to improve the market.
Mrs Warhurst said Transition Gawler expected to hear back from PIRSA regarding its funding request sometime this week, after which the group can begin planning its next steps.
In a letter to market members informing them of the closure, ASFM committee acting chairman Bob Heath said the organisation wasn’t willing to fund the changes considered necessary to improve declining interest in the Gawler Farmers’ Market.
“The ASFM committee has determined that the limited financial and staff resources of its organisation should be concentrated on delivering some new initiatives and improvements as part of a new strategic plan for the next five years,” Mr Heath said.
Gawler Farmers’ Market members will be contacted by ASFM and offered a full refund on their membership, the letter added.
Mrs Warhurst said anyone interested in holding a stall at the one-off farmers’ market on Saturday, June 24, is encouraged to contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0457 720 281.