JUST how local is the Coffs Coast Growers Market, established with the aim of promoting local food and local growers?
Local media outlets have been accused this week of promoting markets which do not live up to these ideals.
This accusation was first aired publicly more than two years ago.
This week I set out to see how much substance it contains today.
Following discussions with a number of market visitors who regularly attend and buy products there, I talked to stallholders on 27 different stalls at the Coffs Coast Growers Market on Thursday.
Almost all stallholders were based on the Coffs Coast and the majority of stalls sold products that were locally grown, locally made or locally transformed.
The tea sellers blend and pack their teas in a factory at Nambucca Heads; the pineapple seller is a pineapple farmer and the beef and lamb supplier is also a Glen Innes farmer.
The operators of two large stalls selling a variety of fruit and vegetables said they bought locally whatever was in season and available and bought directly from farms, not though central markets.
Coffs Harbour City Council manages the market, which was established in 2003 to support small-scale local growing and value-adding operations, as an adjunct to the council’s Rural Lands Strategic Plan.
Newly-appointed Growers Market co-ordinator for Coffs Harbour City Council, Jan Rooney, said part of the aim of the market was to replace thew supermarket culture, educating people to visit and buy from the markets and eat seasonally and to this end it was important to offer as much variety as possible. Ms Rooney, who is also studying for a Masters degree in sustainability education, said she was passionate about promoting local food and local growers.