Jane Adams is a food writer and marketing consultant. In 1998 she won a research fellowship to study markets in the US. She came back an enthusiast and began to deliver workshops to farmers and the community. She has been instrumental in introducing farmers’ markets to rural, regional and urban communities and is chairman of the Australian Farmers’ Market Association.
The farmers’ market movement had been growing overseas for nearly two decades before it gained traction here in Australia. A report into farmers’ markets in Australia in 2004 quoted figures of more than 3500 such markets in the USA and 450 in the UK having been developed since the early 1980s.
Jane Adams was the recipient of the Geoffrey Roberts Award (1997), an international fellowship that facilitated her research of American farmers’ markets. Returning from her study tour, Jane gave her first workshop on how to start a farmers’ market in Orange, NSW in 1999.
She went on to be the driving force behind the formation of the Australian Farmers’ Market Association in 2003 and has worked with community groups from Albany to Auckland to establish farmers’ markets in regional and urban centres.
The AFMA website describes the purpose of the association as follows:
The Australian Farmers’ Markets Association (AFMA) is a voluntary organisation convened in 2003 to create a networking entity committed to supporting the development and growth of best-practice and sustainable farmers’ markets across Australia.
The Association has strict rules as to what constitutes a Farmers’ Market. They state that:
The Farmers’ Market is defined as a predominantly fresh food market that operates regularly within a community at a focal public location that provides a suitable environment for farmers and specialty food producers to sell farm-origin and associated value-added specialty foods for human consumption and plant products directly to customers.