An innovative online ordering system for fresh, local produce from the SAGE Farmers Market was launched today.
The new website is called the “e-market” and we want the “e” to stand for everyone, easier and efficiently. The e-market means the whole Eurobodalla community will have one less hurdle to supporting their local growers.
Now shoppers stuck at the office or at home and unable to get to the market at Moruya for the 3 o’clock bell on Tuesdays can order and pay online, then collect their order from the market at a time that suits them.
Since it began just two years ago, the SAGE Farmers Market has created a huge demand for local food and set the standard for farmers markets across the country. In July last year, this was recognised when the prestigious ABC delicious. Magazine awarded our market “Most Outstanding Farmers’ Market” for 2014. The managing committee has continued to look for ways to keep developing the market and to supply more local food to more people, stimulating growth for the local economy.
“This enterprise opens up opportunities for existing growers as well as for new growers looking to establish their businesses. Ultimately, it will lead to greater food security and contribute to a stronger food system for the Far South Coast,” said Mayor Lindsay Brown.
The e-market project initially received financial support from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s “ANZ Seeds of Renewal” grant, which provided funds for the design and development stages.
Additional funding was provided to SAGE through NSW Trade & Investment’s Supply Chain Accelerator pilot program to undertake testing, train the growers to use the system and make the e-market fully operational. The Supply Chain Accelerator initiative was designed to support NSW businesses by identifying and communicating domestic and export sales opportunities.
Funding through this program was available to foster closer collaboration across local supply chains to capitalise on these opportunities. “The SAGE Farmers e-Market is a prime example of local businesses embracing innovation and technology to raise the profile of their product and drive new business opportunities that will not only benefit the local economy but all NSW” said a spokesperson for NSW Trade & Investment.
SAGE has been developing the e-market for the last 12 months and testing was completed at the end of 2014. We believe the e-market is a new approach to connecting more people to local food. The online market still preserves the link to the physical Tuesday afternoon market because people collect their order from the growers themselves. During testing for the e-market, the growers commented that this face-to-face interaction is an important aspect of their business that they don’t want to lose and from SAGE’s point of view, it’s vital to our mission of building awareness of our local food system.
This project is part of a greater plan to revitalise the local food economy of this region. When you’re rebuilding a local food system from nothing, you do what you can with what you have. First, we established the Tuesday afternoon farmers market. Now, this e-market is our next step towards a much larger network of distribution for locally grown food up and down the coast that will offer more opportunities for producers and more convenience for customers as it grows.
Local grower and participant in the SAGE Farmers e-Market testing, Fraser Bayley, understands why the e-market is an important development. “It means that more people will have access to real, fresh food from within their community. It also means that farmers will feel confident enough to grow their businesses. We’re excited by the potential and the very real possibility of food hub networks expanding throughout the shire and beyond,” he said.
The e-market is intended to replicate the experience of shopping at the market itself. Customers can buy products from the growers of their choice and pay online days in advance. They then pick up their orders from the growers at the market at Riverside Park on Tuesday afternoon between 3pm and 5.30pm. The e-market is updated with available products every week and is open from midday Friday to midday Monday.
The first SAGE Farmers e-Market opens to the public on Friday 6th February at midday and the first 100 customers will receive a free cooler bag valued at $30.