The Capital Region Farmers Market is still the original, the biggest and the best Canberra farmers market.
So, how did we come to be?
You could say it all started with a bunch of roses, and a clever bunch of Rotary guys.
Back in 2003 the Rotary Club of Hall took on a project collecting and selling viable roses from the Old Parliament House Rose Gardens upgrade. It was a success.
Sadly, around the same time one of the Rotary members was trying to sell his own vegetables and faced hardship due to the stronghold of wholesalers in Canberra. So they got to thinking about the success of the roses and how it might work for vegetables – lightbulb moment!
The idea of a farmers market was born.
Previous farmers market projects in Canberra had failed, but in this case, timing was right. The droughts put an emphasis on the plight of Canberra and region farmers, wholesale arrangements were inadequate and farmers just couldn’t sell through commercial means. At the same time, many small producers were just starting out and needed an outlet. Timing was right.
A major analysis was undertaken to determine the dynamics of farmers markets, and business and development plans were developed. Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) was to be the venue – meeting all requirements for suitability, capacity, amenities and all-weather infrastructure.
The very first Capital Region Farmers Market was held in March 2004. It was established without any financial support or grants from governments or other sources. It started with just 15 stalls and around 500 customers. But it was helping our farmers immensely.
Today the Capital Region Farmers Market is still managed by the not-for-profit Rotary Club of Hall and aims to:
- Provide customers with a diverse range of fresh farm and food produce straight from the producer to the consumer, and an opportunity to discuss with growers and learn through weekly forays.
- Build local agri-business opportunities for regional producers to sell fresh farm and food produce.
- Provide a community dividend in the region – funds generated from the Market are fed back into regional communities and other projects chosen by the Rotary Club of Hall.
Over the years, the Rotary Club of Hall has been delighted to do something positive to underpin the growing agri-business opportunities in the region, and to offer a great seasonal food experience to ACT residents and visitors to Canberra.
And we’re going well.
Today we’ve grown to have an almost 200 registered stallholders, hosting around 100 stalls and welcoming over 6000 customers each week. Pretty good we think. And someone deserves a bunch of roses!
Here at the Capital Region Farmers Market, we’re passionate about reducing our impact on our natural environment which is why we practice efficient recycling and waste management. The Markets are an ACT government accredited recycler, showing our commitment to best practice recycling.