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Inaugural conference June 16 - 18 2006

Inaugural conference June 16 - 18 2006

70 plus Delegates travelled to Hawke’s Bay from Invercargill and from Keri Keri and a good sprinkling of points in between for the first gathering of farmers’ markets in New Zealand. Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday the group enjoyed a mixture of information, education, debate, companionship and fantastic local food and wine. It was an important occasion that brought most people face to face for the first time.

- Bernie Prince from Fresh Farm Markets in Washington DC told the story of the growth of the 6 markets that her organisation runs and of the associated activities that they are involved in schools and the local community.

- Jane Adams of Jane Adams communications in Sydney pointed to further activities that make up a local food system. Jane has been closely involved with the growth of farmers’ markets in Australia and New Zealand as a catalyst and consultant.

- Graeme Avery CEO of Sileni Estates and chairman of New Zealand Food & Wine Tourism network outlined the development of regional food and wine tourism growth in Hawke’s Bay and lessons that could be learned.

Other speakers from farmers’ markets around the country, from NZFSA, NZTE, Massey and Waikato universities combined to build a complete picture of the present and future for farmers’ markets and local food systems in New Zealand.

Full conference proceedings are available from Delegates from 20 + markets attended, as did interested parties from 6 markets that are in various stages of planning. Economic development officers, nutritionists and market stallholders were also present for the 2 day event held in June 2006. The number of markets in New Zealand is expected to reach 30 this year, which is a great development on the 10 markets that existed at the end of 2004.

The conference was one of the highlights of a tremendously successful first 7 months for FMNZ: FMNZ Inc. was incorporated in November 2005 with the aim of promoting the development of a national network of authentic farmers’ markets. In the few short months since then FMNZ has achieved a number of note worthy milestones, all of which were cofunded by NZTE

- An 8 centre seminar tour of the country featuring Jane Adams and Ian Thomas.

- Publication of a market management handbook which covers all aspects of establishing and running a successful farmers’ market

- A web site which is the communications and information hub of the group was developed.

- A communication network between existing markets has been developed.

- A mentoring program for new markets has developed and successfully implemented.

- The popularity and support shown for the conference is a good indication of the growing groundswell of this grass roots movement.

Following the conference over 90% of existing farmers’ markets joined the association.

The association is now poised to further develop management, mentoring and advocacy services for its members and to undertake some compelling new initiatives that surfaced at the conference.

Those initiatives include:

- Becoming actively involved in the fight against obesity and life style diseases

- Forging strategic links with other bodies to promote fresh local produce and raise awareness of the nutritional, economic, social and environmental benefits of buying directly from local producers.

- Further developing the website to include a database of food producers, growers and farmers throughout the country in order help them market their wares and to underpin the growth of regional cuisine

- The publication of a guidebook to farmers’ markets in New Zealand and Australia. This is a collaboration between FMNZ their Australian counterparts, AFMA and RM Williams Classic publications


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