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Monday, June 21, 2010

Farmers’ Markets lead economic growth and real food production in NZ

Farmers’ Markets NZ lead the revolution of .......

Media Release June 2010

The closing of the third Farmers’ Markets New Zealand Conference held in Hamilton on June 6-8 brought to the forefront the importance of transparency and authenticity for all who attended. Delegates and key note speakers from America, England, Australia and New Zealand converged for three days for networking and sharing with the word “local” on the tastes buds of all.    
Keith Stewart, self confessed foodie and radio live talk back host, was serious when he claimed we are in the middle of a revolution.  “We are at war, and we need to figure out who is on our side.”  Keith spoke to the delegates reminding them that we are the future food producers of New Zealand .  
Farmers’ Markets have grown sustainably ever since there introduction to NZ. Just 10 years ago Hawkes Bay, Marlborough and Otago were the founding Farmers’ Markets of these regional, economic growth incubators, now over 50 locations through out NZ operate on a weekly basis. This being New Zealand’s main point of difference to the rest of the world, most operating farmers’ markets on a monthly basis.
Gareth Jones (FARMA, UK) holds NZ up as a shining example of farmers’ markets working together to achieve the same goal. The majority of markets in the UK run on a fortnightly or monthly basis. They would never have sat in the same room together, let alone co-elaborated on future goals and strategies, of how to provide economic stimulus to regional and urban communities.
Chairperson of Farmers’ Markets NZ, Chris Fortune, summed up the conference with, “NZ regional food producers  will make a long term economic and social difference in our local communities, not the promises made by council men seeking re-election or the corporate multi-national faceless companies that give us products they call food. This revolution will be led by the blueberry producers of Marlborough, the free range pork producers of the Waikato and the thousands of other real food producers of NZ.  They are already playing an integral part in the lives of the everyday consumers that chooses to do their weekly shop at NZ farmers’ markets.”
The highlight of the conference was hearing from the newly appointed Patron of FMNZ, Bernadine Prince, co-founder of 15 farmers’ markets in Washington DC, which includes the newest farmers’ market opened at the White House.  “NZ could be the leader of sustainable farming, feeding its own communities and be a continuing shining light in the world of farmers’ markets.”  This was Bernie’s 4th visit to NZ in relation to farmers’ markets and she returns to Washington DC with as much information as she imparted to the delegates of the FMNZ Conference.  She will share her new found knowledge with the newly founded American Coalition of Farmers’ Markets of which she is vice-president.
The key behind what all farmers’ markets have been doing over the last decade is Authenticity.  Focus being on transparency and now is the time for all regional food producers of NZ to stand up and claim what they own and protect their only tangible asset. This tangible asset that we can truly claim to be our own and grow together are the two words “farmers’ market”.
FMNZs  long-term focus is on the future transparency of farmers’ markets - the future is not only next week’s farmers’ market, or next years farmers’ market but farmers’ markets in 10 and 20 years time.

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