Alphington Farmers Market has many faces. It’s the onsite weekly Sunday market operated by Melbourne Farmers Markets at their base in the northern suburb of Alphington in Melbourne, Australia.
Our farmers’ market is the face the public see in their thousand every week, but it’s the other layers and circular nature of activities that are developing into a micro-food system in itself. One that we aim to see demonstrated for more neighbourhoods and communities across our city to have closer connection to our farmers and where their food comes from.
We host around 40 small-scale farmers and food producers bringing the full gamut of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, free range meat and eggs, milk and cheeses, olives and oils, condiments, bread etc etc. The market hosts a number of community organisations, supports social enterprise objectives and offers the local neighbourhood a place to gather and connect.
One family of smiling faces at every market are the Fishers, 4th generation citrus growers from up on the Murray River, a six-hour drive from Melbourne. The family attend another three of our markets every week and also have their metro base on site with us.
The inner-city depot space, Alphington Food Hub, is an unusual asset for primary producers to access. It has arisen from the decades of conversations amongst the market community, and the familiar stories from regional businesses having many barriers to building trade, under their own control, direct to the cities hospitality sector.
The Hub enables Kingfisher Citrus to bring the large volume of fruit they need to move to make their business viable, and they utilize the packing space, coolroom and forklift to move their half tonne fruit bins between the trucks and their end customers. They squeeze their juice in our commercial kitchen, and their discarded orange skins are then dehydrated and transformed into a cooking ingredient and value-added pickle. Their surplus and ‘waste’ fruit is distributed amongst vulnerable communities and adds important fresh produce in food relief packages.
Alphington Food Hub is the first of its kind, deliberately established to support the small-scale farming community from the farmgate to the customer direct; households and individuals, hospitality and retail. Our farmers markets have been the initiators and the conduit to diversification, and will always play a vital role as the centre of the connectivity.
Founder and Director, Melbourne Farmers Markets