Sunday, September 5, 2010

Spring Has arrived at Farmers' Markets of NZ

Our thoughts are with our nine Canterbury Farmers' Market members, we are all thinking of you and wish you the best after the devastating earthquake that happened on Saturday morning in Christchurch and surrounding areas.  

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Farmers’ Market members for their support of the volunteer FMNZ Executive over the last 12 months.  We have undertaken a number of new initiatives aimed at delivering benefits directly to our members and yet we realise that the work is ongoing and our job is far from done.  Like most of you we are extremely busy in our personal lives and run on the good faith and energy that sees us through the working week.  Then there is the running of our Farmers’ Markets - the most enjoyable part of the week!

Looking back on where we have come from allows us to see the progress that we have all made over the last decade – who would have thought that from humble beginnings, we would have grown into such a strong network of like-minded people.  

A snapshot of some highlights of the decade:

2000 - Hawkes Bay  FM opens,  2001 - Marlborough FM opens, 2003 - Otago FM opens, 2004 - Bay of Islands FM opens
2005 – Farmers’ Markets New Zealand (FMNZ), is incorporated
2006 - Inaugural FMNZ conference held in Hawkes Bay (16 members)
2006 - FMNZ produces Market Management handbook and Stallholder Handbook for members
2006 - Farmers Markets New Zealand wins Innovators Award from the  Restaurant Association
2008 - 2nd FMNZ conference held in Marlborough (40 member markets)
2008 - Buy Local Funding initiative adopted and completed by member markets
2008 - Authenticity certification scheme identified as the best tool for protecting the Farmers’ Market brand and providing transparency for Farmers’ Markets and their increasing customer base
2008 Fresh Thoughts newsletter introduced as a communication tool
2009 – Inaugural Manager’s Forum,  focusing on the delivery of advice, information and tools to the  managers who run our markets every week
2010 - 3rd FMNZ conference held in Hamilton (50 member markets)  Bernie Prince from FreshFarm Markets in Washington DC  is named Patron of FMNZ
2010 -  marketground  is made available to all members and stallholders
2010 -  Strategic planning for authenticity certification (ongoing)

The FMNZ Executive committee  has a number of exciting and challenging projects in the wind and we look forward to working with all of our members, both big and small, to ensure that the Farmers’ Markets of New Zealand becomes  a part of the ‘weekly shop’ for all consumers of New Zealand.

FMNZ has worked hard in developing a large network of very supportive media and other advocates around the country who are proving invaluable in assisting us to promote and share the success of individual markets and stallholders and we continue to work in good faith with them.

I wish you and your markets all the very best for another enjoyable and productive year ahead - please do not hesitate to contact me if FMNZ can be of any assistance.

Chris Fortune
Chairperson, FMNZ
Phone 021 935995 or 03 579 3599

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