Farmers markets prove essential in time of crisis

Confusion is the order of the day in Australia, as we face a health crisis unlike any other in our past.

COVID-19 has upturned our comfortable, privileged lives and while most of us are coming to terms with the loss of many freedoms we assumed would always be preserved, there are others who are slower to accept our new reality.

Messaging from our highest authority has been garbled at best and restrictions (and their implementation) differ state to state, city to city and even town to town. It can be hard to know what to do. It can be hard not to give in to panic.

Things are changing rapidly, but it seems one constant, at least, is farmers markets.

It’s gratifying to see that farmers markets have been recognised as an essential service – obvious to those of us who buy and sell at farmers markets regularly – but it has highlighted the confusion around what exactly is a farmers market and the need for clarification and education.

For now, the FMANSW Committee hopes that all NSW farmers markets are finding ways to keep trading using sensible policies to ensure public and vendor safety.

The Australian Farmers’ Markets Association has produced a useful fact sheet that can help inform management of farmers markets as they make these very important decisions around how to keep trading.

The SAGE Farmers Market Moruya is implementing a range of measures, including dramatically increasing the spacing between stalls and providng a hand sanitiser station in the centre of the market, as well as individual hand sanitisers at each stall.

Among the confusion, we encourage NSW farmers markets and the farmers who depend upon them to keep communicating in clear and certain terms with their customers.

We hope everyone stays safe and well and hope if anything good is to come from this crisis, it’s that more people realise the value of a genuine farmers market.

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