After more than a year and around 100 hours of volunteer effort, SAGE has released the SAGE Farmers Market Economic Impact Study 2014-2015 report detailing the local economic development impacts of its hugely successful farmers market, and the bottom line is taking everyone by surprise.
Or perhaps not everyone. “The market’s managing committee knew that the market was generating serious economic activity. We could see that it was making a big difference to the lives of people growing food around here,” said the Market’s Committee Chairman Stuart Whitelaw.
“When you talk to some councillors or read important policy shaping documents published by Council, the local food economy just isn’t on their radar as a serious consideration,” he said. “SAGE is working hard on a number of fronts to change that, but we needed something that could quantify the impact of growing and selling food locally. We needed to be able to speak the language of policy makers. So we took on the huge task of conducting our own economic impact study.”
After surveying customers at four markets over 12 months, it was revealed that shoppers spend $1,769,000 annually at the SAGE Farmers Market.
Additionally, customers were asked if they intended to shop elsewhere in Moruya that day. Almost 75% of shoppers indicated they also shopped elsewhere in town on market day, spending $1,459,000 annually with other retail businesses.
The study also obtained qualitative data from businesses in Moruya, with almost 70% of survey responses indicating they believed the market has a positive or very positive impact on the town.
The SAGE Farmers Market is a genuine farmers market that adheres to the best practice guidelines of the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association. This ensures that every stall holder is inspected and customers can be confident that what they are buying is grown, harvested or made by the person they’re buying it from.
“The Moruya SAGE Farmers Market is a shining example of the immense power of authentic well-managed farmers markets to grow local economies, and showcase regional agriculture and food production. The SAGE Report provides valuable data on wide-ranging economic impacts of farmers markets and will be a useful tool for market operators and governments Australia-wide,” commented Jane Adams, spokesperson for the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association.
The SAGE Farmers Market also has restrictions on how far from the market stall holders can be based, making the market a legitimately local enterprise.
“This report really challenges the idea that local food is some kind of niche activity for a few hobby farmers,” said Stuart Whitelaw. “We’ve known for a while that something big is happening in local agriculture in our region. A new industry is emerging, or I should say, an old industry is re-emerging. This report provides positive evidence that everyone can relate to.”
Contact Stuart Whitelaw on 02 4473 6226 or 0427 736 226
Contact Jane Adams, AFMA Spokesperson on 0417 733 715