If you are not yet familiar with the concept of “food miles” – possibly you have been living in a cave during a meditation retreat for the past handful of years – then this concept is one with which you should very quickly familiarise yourself, particularly if you consider environmental and local economical  concerns important. Food miles are not frequent flyer miles. That is, you want to lose them, essentially, and not gain them - the benefits are in their loss. The basic idea behind food miles is the consideration of the literal distance between where your food is produced and where your food is consumed. In other words, it is a farm-to-plate measurement. Food miles have semi-recently gained momentum as a very real means through which consumers can vote with their dollar to affect a positive environmental and local economical change, and it is through this ethos that the humble farmers’ market was created.

In 2020, Melbourne and its outer-lying areas play host to a plethora of varying farmers’ markets. Arguably the city’s most successful, vibrant and diverse farmers’ market can be found abuzz in Patterson Reserve, Auburn Road, Hawthorn East, every third and fifth Saturday of the month between the hours of 8am and 12:30pm. It is the Boroondara Farmers Market, and it requires your attendance. This farmers’ market is an initiative of the City of Boroondara in partnership with the Rotary Club of Glenferrie, which actually manages the market on operating days. The cornucopia of Victorian-produced offerings includes everything from conventionally grown fruit and vegetables to seasonal organic produce; meat, eggs, bread and herbs to olives, dips, sauces and honey; bread, cakes, wine and beer – even gelato - are available. Hmm…I believe I just detected a not-so-subtle raise/twitch of the eyebrows. The last market, which took place on Saturday, 29 February, was graced by the presence of a myriad of local producers, including Natural Pasta, Boatshed Cheese, Club Creek Bulb Farm, Cocoa Rhapsody, Botanical Brew, Peninsula Honey, Cripps Fish and Natural Fruit Sorbet, just to name a few.

In addition to the Boroondara Farmers Market giving attendees the opportunity to dramatically decrease their food miles, its rich tapestry also provides visitors the chance to receive education about the produce on offer from the actual passionate farmers and producers, themselves. Knowing about what you eat and how it has come about can potentially strengthen the connection between individuals and the community. As a matter of fact, the entire vibration of a farmers’ market emanates from a community-focused point. Boroondara Farmers Market is a place where people go to buy and consume but also to grow and connect. A further example of this will be on show during the next edition of the market on Saturday, 21 March, during which the Boroondara Sustainable Living Festival will be running concurrently. This festival will provide those interested with sustainable-living ideas and initiatives covering home life, work life and school life and will be very hands on, family friendly and most of all, fun! Experts will be on hand to explain how we can live more mindfully via areas such as biodiversity, backyard food production, sustainable transport, waste reduction and recycling, and water and energy saving. As well, workshops covering composting, beekeeping, growing native edibles and renewable energy will also be available.

You have a few weeks yet to prepare yourselves for a first-time visit to the Boroondara Farmers Market – that is, if you have not already joined the ranks of the many who proudly regard themselves as return customers. Grab the kids, grab the dog(s), grab a picnic rug, maybe even grab an esky in case you meet a beer or white wine that seems too friendly to refuse – just don’t grab a coffee, as coffee is one of the many delights awaiting you at Patterson Reserve. This market provides a fantastic opportunity to bathe in a genuine community spirit, learn a thing or two about what you trust to nourish your body and mind, decrease your food miles and feel confident and satisfied while doing your part to support the environment and the Victorian economy.

Image courtesy of Boroondara Farmers Market

Image courtesy of Boroondara Farmers Market

Image courtesy of Boroondara Farmers Market

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