Roadside produce stalls around Tweed Shire, as a popular tourist attraction, could soon boom with a new policy aimed at making it easier for growers to set them up and consumers to find them.
Tweed Shire councillors have unanimously endorsed a report recommending actions to encourage roadside fruit and vegetable stalls, including an information sheet on requirements for approvals, a tourist map and web portal, and moves to boost public awareness of and general access to local produce.
Roadside produce stalls, like community farmers markets, are a popular and growing part of the north coast’s rural culture, but some landowners are unsure of what’s required under council policy.
Greens Cr Katie Milne earlier this year won support for staff to compile the report identifying potential obstacles in the shire’s policies on the stalls and how to promote them.
One of the main planks of the policy is that all agricultural goods sold must be produced on local or nearby agricultural land where the stall, a temporary structure, is erected.
This allows farmers without access to a primary road to operate a stall from an adjoining property with better access to passing trade.
Staff say providing useful information through a website to the broader community on the stalls’ locations and what they had for sale would be a ‘useful tourism tool for encouraging day trippers to the Tweed’.
It would also maximise the enjoyment of their visit and contribute to the local produce economy.
But Cr Milne told Echonetdaily that prohibitively costly council developer-contribution fees, which could put off farmers setting up stalls, were not highlighted by the report.
‘An applicant for a stall recently was hit by a $33,000 contribution levy for a three-by-five-metre stall, so this can be a real problem which has to be addressed,’ she said.