Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association
The Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association’s purpose is to support and promote authentic farmers’ markets throughout Victoria.
What is a farmers’ market?
The Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association defines an authentic farmers’ market as “a predominantly local fresh food and produce market that operates regularly at a public location which provides a suitable environment for farmers and food producers to sell their farm origin product and their associated value added primary products directly to customers.”
Where did it begin?
The first farmers’ market started in Victoria in 1998 in the Yarra Valley with the primary aim of enabling farmers to sell their produce direct to the consumer.
It was the beginning of a significant grass roots movement in Victoria, which now boasts over 50 genuine farmers markets and an estimated 2000 farmers selling their produce direct to the consumer each month.
Following the first Australian Farmers’ Markets Association Conference in November 2002, a group of Victorian farmers’ market managers and stallholders joined together to form the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association (VFMA).
In August 2005, the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association hosted a second conference in Albury Woodonga which was attended by 150 international, interstate and local delegates and, as part of the Conference, a workshop was held with farmers’ market managers and producers to gauge what should be the next steps for the National Association.
The workshop confirmed there was an overwhelming support to form an Association membership base comprised of farmers, food producers and market managers to ensure branding of 'farmers' markets' and to give integrity, authenticity and sustain profitability
for producers. Furthermore it was identified this could only be
realistically achieved on a State level.
Acting upon this advice, the VFMA committee sought further feedback specifically from Victorian farmers’ market stallholders and managers at workshops held across the State.
At these workshops a VFMA Draft Charter was developed and at the VFMA AGM in November 2006, the VFMA Charter was adopted with overwhelming support.
In late 2006 the Government announced they would “provide $2 million to support farmers’ markets as a community based option for farmers to deliver their products directly to consumers.”
Some of this funding, administered by Regional Development Victoria, has enabled the VFMA to develop important projects that will ensure sustainable, authentic farmers’ markets for the future, including the development of an Accreditation Program for authentic farmers and producers and farmers’ markets.
In May 2011, the Liberal Government's commitment to supporting the growing farmers' market sector was reaffirmed when another $2 million was granted to support the VFMA and farmers' markets across the state.