News & StoriesCase Studies
Farming Together stream: Expert Support
Group Name: Melbourne Farmers Markets
Product/industry: mixed crops
The group and challenge
The Melbourne Farmers Market started as one market, once a month. It has grown to six markets, three times a week. The demand for fresh and wholesome produce continues, as consumers strive to understand where their food comes from and aim to get closer to grass roots food producers.
Over the years, the Melbourne Farmers Market has provided hundreds of small scale producers with a direct connection to their end consumers. This gives growers valuable and immediate feedback on their goods. However, the Farmers Market organisation knew they could be doing more. Many small scale producers have limited retail and marketing experience, and most lacked a base in Melbourne to be able to regularly supply customers outside of their local farmers’ market activity. The concept of the Melbourne Communal Food Hub was born.
|Growers can get involved in offering or participating in cooking classes.||Alphington Community Food Hub will help people connect to a healthy and flourishing local food network.|
Farming Together Services and Support
Farming Together partnered with the Melbourne Farmers Market to explore this collaborative idea in detail and to flesh out the concept. The opportunities for collaboration through the proposed Hub fitted neatly within the objectives of the Program.
Farming Together provided business and legal advice which was vital in ongoing negotiations and developing the relationship with Council, and understanding the licensing agreement connected to the target hub site.
The Program also helped clarify the complex thinking around financial viability and built a picture of how the project could be made both attractive and affordable for farmers to participate.
“We are a farming community that already collaborates and we want to strengthen that even more. The Hub will provide an important focal point and is a practical way to deliver better returns to our farmers,” Miranda Sharp – Director Melbourne Farmers Market.
Expert Services delivered
Impact and Outcomes
Melbourne Farmers Market has secured a site in Melbourne Innovation Centre’s Wingrove Street site, close to the Alphington train station. This will provide easy access to both the Hub, once it is fully developed, and the current Alphington Farmers Market held each Sunday morning.
Earthworks at the site have commenced, removing large expanses of concrete, and plans are underway to convert the site into a vibrant and inclusive food hub.
The Melbourne Communal Food Hub will develop into a multi-purpose space providing a focal point for both producers and consumers. The first stage of development includes:
- Comprehensive storage for dry goods
- Commercial-scale refrigeration
- Office space
- Commercial kitchen, and
all in a physical space accessible for larger trucks and freight carriers. The Hub will become the central point for farmers to supply their customer base or other farmers markets, as well as a space to value-add their produce, further increasing their financial returns.