British immigrant Elizabeth Taylor opened Sydney’s first farmers’ market at French’s Forest in Sydney, concentrating on organic and locally grown food. Her experience in running markets in the UK led her to found several markets around Sydney.
The Pyrmont Village website, which now appears to be defunct, had an article on the history of farmers’ markets in Sydney. Here’s part of the original text:
The popularity of farmers’ markets such as the Pyrmont Growers Market cannot be denied. Backed with noble ideals, farmers’ markets are continually rising in popularity from humble beginnings, but what does the future hold for this phenomenon? With a range of different theories starting to emerge on the future of farmers’ markets, a look into their history and growth may offer clues as to what we’re likely to see in their next generation.
Only in recent years has Australia joined the global movement of farmers’ markets, a venture spurred by the urbanisation of agriculture and supermarket boom. It wasn’t until 1995 thatElizabeth Taylor opened Sydney’s first market at Frenchs Forest. Taylor was also responsible for opening England’s first farmers’ market, the Spitalfields Market, in 1992. Since moving to Australia, she has left an impressive footprint in her home country with a reported 400 markets in the UK in the spirit of Spitalfields. It’s a success that has carried into Australia. Since 1995, nearly 100 farmers’ markets have opened across Australia, with ones such as Bondi Beach Market, Bundeena Markets by the Sea and the Pyrmont Growers’ Market particularly enjoying success.
It’s a popularity that can be accredited to not only the heightened awareness of monoculture, but also television and local government initiatives to promote the event as social and fun. With an estimated annual turnover of 40 million dollars, farmers’ markets are providing economic benefits which are attracting more and more government support. Unfortunately it’s also this success that has generated some doubt of the future of farmers’ markets and what is to be expected in the next generation.
The farmer’s market movement gained pace around the turn of the 21st century, with the formation of the Australian Farmers’ Market Association. Melbourne’s first market started in 2002 at the Collingwood Children’s farm. The same year, the first South Australian farmers’ market opened at Willunga on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
The first farmers’ market in Canberra, the Capital Region Farmers’ market, started trading in March 2004 and was established without any financial support or grants from governments or other sources. It started with 18 stalls and some 1,000 customers, and has since grown to more than 100 stalls per week and over 5,000 customers.