Sewn deep into the fabric of the Southside Farmer’s Markets is a central, binding approach: community. Taking over the markets in 2008, Michelle and Stanley van Wijk see a small, community-focused approach as having healthy benefits that transcend a market being simply a place buy and sell produce.
“Farmers can be quite isolated, and the market gets them off their properties and engaged with the community. Once you start going to a Farmer’s Market, you become a part of that community,” explains Michelle. “It relates back to the old days, when you had a relationship with your butcher or baker and there’s more human interaction,” adds Stanley. “People are also becoming more aware of the local economy. They know that if they shop at a Farmer’s Market, that money goes back into the community, which then gets healthier and wealthier. The Farmer’s Market is a visible representation of that – where you see consumers and the growers coming together to share community wealth and education.”
A small business incubator, a venue for education, a community hub and a place to buy fresh produce – The Southside Farmer’s Market is all these things, and its reverence from Canberrans holds promise for the longevity of healthy food culture in the capital.