ESSENTIAL SERVICE: Farmer’s markets are critical for producers and customers and there are new rules which must be followed to comply with regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: iStock
ESSENTIAL SERVICE: Farmer’s markets are critical for producers and customers and there are new rules which must be followed to comply with regulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: iStock

Farmers' markets still selling, with some new rules

SHOPPING at your local farmer's market is usually a time to catch up with friends over a coffee as you enjoy the jostling crowd and take your time to select some fresh produce in a relaxing environment which benefits customers and producers.

But now the rules of engagement have changed and the Lismore Farmer's Market want to thank everyone - shoppers and supplier - who were there on Saturday.

Market co-ordinator Louise Grenfell said she is pleased that people are continuing to attend the markets at the Lismore Showgrounds and adhere to the social distancing and upgraded hygiene regulations during these difficult times.

"Feedback on the markets last week was very positive with customers and producers thanking us for being open," she said.

"Many of our market stall holders live very precariously and work very hard for their money and we've had quite a few calls from farmers who want to know if they can participate as some other markets are no longer being held and this is their only income."

Ms Grenfell said while a few people appeared to have found the changes which included only takeaway cups being able to be used for coffees and shopping numbers limited with everyone urged to shop as quickly as possible, the vast majority of people had been tremendous.

"A few people seem to have difficulty with change, find change very foreign while others are more aware," she said,

Allie Godfrey manages both the Mullumbimby and New Brighton Farmer's markets and she said challenging times means adapting more quickly.

"We are encouraging a shop-and-go message and have spread out our stalls further," she said,

"Every farmer's market is keeping 70 small producers alive and kicking and food prices fair."

Ballina Farmer's Market licensee Cornelia Burless agreed.

She said all the Northern Rivers farmers markets have been working together to ensure they are sending out the same messages around distance and hygiene.

"Farmers markets are out in the open and we have short supply chains so not a lot of hands are on the product so people an shop with confidence," she said,

"And it's a chance for people to get out in their community and smile - at a distance."


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