Farmers' markets, which have come to symbolise community resilience in the aftermath of global disasters, will offer traumatised Christchurch residents an opportunity to gather and comfort each other and buy fresh food.
After Hurricane Katrina flattened New Orleans in 2005, the local farmers' market was among the first of businesses to re-emerge, and it would be the same in Christchurch, said Farmers Markets New Zealand chairman Chris Fortune.
Christchurch's markets at Dean's Bush would open as usual this weekend, and while Lyttelton's Farmers Market would be closed until further notice, a "pop up" market had been organised for today at the Mt Pleasant community centre for the Sumner, Redcliffs, Mt Pleasant, Woolston, Linwood and South Shore communities, he said.
Farmers' Markets New Zealand would donate the costs of coffee and milk for this market, so local residents could get a free cup of coffee, Mr Fortune said.
Pop up market co-organiser Angela Clifford said the event would give access to fresh food for people who had no local food outlets, and offer a safe community space to meet.
Farmers' Markets would also be a lifeline to fresh food producers in Canterbury who had lost much of their market, particularly those supplying restaurants and other businesses in the Christchurch CBD, Mr Fortune said.
Farmers' markets were "great invigorators" of community life, he said.
The pop up market will operate from 10am to 1pm.
Mr Fortune, a restaurateur in Blenheim, said the Christchurch earthquake had even restricted food supplies to Marlborough. Much of the region's staple food supplies such as milk, flour and bread come from Christchurch processors whose production has been affected by the quake, or which were holding back supplies for city residents.
Ironically Blenheim had a dairy processing factory of its own until Goodman Fielder shut it down and moved processing to Christchurch around three years ago, Mr Fortune said.