Many of us are making different choices about what we eat, who we buy our food from and how we grow and make our food.
Here in Ohoka we have been making a difference for the past 10 years. This is something to celebrate!
After many years of industrial corporate food production and the misinformation that has accompanied it, along with an almost laissex faire history of factory farming we are becoming increasingly concerned that ‘conventional’ farming has in fact caused many problems not just overseas but right here in New Zealand.
So we are redefining and challenging the existing food system by supporting those small producers. We are changing the mindset that has for so long allowed these counterproductive and damaging methods of food production become the norm. This is the food revolution and it’s happening at a local level.
Farmers Markets don’t represent the farmers of yesterday. Farmers markets are about the new farmers.
An alternative food system starts with the growers, farmers and producers and ends in the markets, independent shops, food boxes, CSA's, food hubs and community gardens. It encompasses everything from the soil we grow our foods in to the businesses we trade with.
Making the right choices about our food is not always easy when you have a culture that promotes, encourages and supports an industry that is often counterproductive to healthy lives. Making the right choices about food starts with having the right mind set. Farmers Markets provide people with the ability to become informed about their local growers and what food is available. Our communities then have the chance to become food secure and achieve food sovereignty.
Growers and producers have been making this transition to a fairer food system by joining their local farmers markets for many years. They are the small food businesses that make up the market and they sign up to the market objectives which are based around 3 principles: Social well being, environmental sustainability and hopefully economic viability. This is a form of social enterprise at work. Our focus is on the purpose.
It is no easy task to take on the dominant industrial food system which dictates governmental food policies, what most people eat, what growers can grow, how land is treated and how animals are farmed. But change is in the air; smart farmers and food producers around the world are embracing the opportunities that this food revolution offers.
Regenerative farming is showing ‘conventional farming’ how to do it better.
Congratulations to our thousands of supporters from Friends of the market, to regular customers to all our visitors from afar! Congratulations too, to those enlightened farmers and food producers. You are all making a difference every time time you choose to buy from your local growers and food artisans at the market.
What happens every Friday morning goes so much further than the local area.
Every year we aim to share the farmers market ethos around our local community.
Since 2016 we have been gifting 40kg of apples from our market growers, to a low decile school in the area every fortnight seasonally. In 2018 we started a Pledgeme fundraiser called our Fruits for Schools Campaign with the aim to raise significant funds to buy fruits from the market growers and give these to the children at Kaiapoi Borough Primary all year. We didn’t reach our target, but we are grateful to those who did share our ambition. This summer we have delivered freshly harvested plums from a local market orchard stallholder and this has been rapturously received! Proceeds from the surcharge on our EFTPOS will enable us to continue our Fruits for Schools Campaign on a smaller scale.
The market has also supported local Charity Jams, Westpac Air Rescue, the Cust Volunteer Fireservice, NZ Cancer Society, SAFE, and numerous other charitable groups in the region who are compatible with our objectives.
Food Sovereignty came about in 2006 via Via Campesina. In a nutshell, food sovereignty is the right of peoples, communities and countries to define their own policies regarding their seeds, agriculture, labour, food and land. These policies must be appropriate to their unique ecological, social, economic and cultural circumstances. Food Sovereignty includes the true right to food and to produce food. It is about ownership. Agri business dominates many of the choices you make regarding food. Supermarkets are synonymous with this industry and you can read more on this in our market voice blog. The bottom line; they sell mainly processed foods which are nutritionally inferior, cheap to make and they squash many small businesses in their area eg fishshops, vege grocers, organic shops, pet supplies, bakers etc etc.
Food Security is when all people, at all times, have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Shopping at the farmers market is the best place to ensure you get the safe and nutritious. Your food security is threatened by the dominance of the Supermarket/s in your area.
Food Resilience is a holistic response to a situation where change has become necessary for a community's well-being and survival. By incorporating food with the social, environmental and political, communities who actively strive for food resilience are able to offer alternative and independent ways of feeding themselves and their communities. They aim is to be food secure. This is the Farmers Market!
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