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May 18, 2022

How two local farmers’ markets are supporting young farmers

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Back row left to right: Briana Atkins – Jumping Red Ant; Evan Anderson – Kennedy Lane Farm; Dougal Forest – Organic Forrest; Oliver Bora – Oliver’s Hens; Tom Armstrong – Coopers Shoot Tomatoes; and Yasha Saeck – Blueberry Fields. Middle row left to right: Ryan Bruin – Summit Farms; Liam Everest – Everest Farm; Kyan Sansom – Seedlings Organic; Jody Viccars – Woodland Valley Farm; and Katerina Lazareva – Suria Foods. Front row left to right: Nicole Fredman & Tom Bjorksten – Misty Creek Agroforestry; and Locke Everest – Everest Farm.

With everyone talking about the empty shelves in the supermarkets at the moment, it’s reassuring to know we have over 12 farmers’ markets in the Northern Rivers every day except Mondays. However, even though our local farmers have an abundance of produce, they still face the real challenge of climate change and an ageing population of farmers. 

Two farmers’ markets committed to supporting young farmers are Mullumbimby Farmers Market and New Brighton Farmers Market, which come under the umbrella of North Byron Farmers Market (NBFM). They operate as a not for profit and were set up, and are still run, by volunteer farmers and community members. 

Part of their commitment is to support young farmers, both intergenerational and new to farming. Over the last two years, they have brought in at least a dozen new stallholders. Most of them have been young farmers looking for a regular opportunity to sell their produce. 

One of the youngest farmers at Mullumbimby Farmers Market is Oliver Bora (Oliver’s Hens), who supplies pasture-range eggs each week. He began his farming venture while he was still at school. When the market committee heard about Oliver, Wally Waldron, a retiring CO egg producer and committee member, mentored Oliver in getting his business ready for the farmers’ market.

Another commitment to educating young farmers of the future is an annual event created by NBFM called Grow Your Own Lunch Box. The inaugural event was in 2015, in which eight local schools showcased their kitchen gardens, made a preserve, and created a healthy seasonal lunchbox. Since the event’s inception, NBFM has donated over $20,000 to the participating schools. Find out more here: https://mullumfarmersmarket.org.au/grow-your-own-lunchbox/.

Mullumbimby Farmers Market is open every Friday 7–11am and New Brighton Farmers Market is open every Tuesday 8–11am.

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