In 1999 we launched our first market in Glastonbury and began to build up a network of regular markets around the county of Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset. Twenty years on and we are still going strong and will this year be celebrating our anniversary at each of our markets throughout the year…we’ll give out more details as the year progresses.
However as we step into our 3rd decade we are mindful of our original purpose and role within the local agricultural and food economy. Since we began environmental issues have become ever more urgent ,the very real effects of climate change and plastic pollution more apparent and many species of wildlife extinct or in danger.
We were created from ‘Agenda 21’ funding as a direct result of the 1st climate change summit in Rio when the United Nation member states developed an action plan that each local government area should draw up its own plan to ‘act locally’ to prevent climate change by promoting local initiatives focusing on sustainable development and counteracting the damaging effects of globalisation.
In our small way we began pioneering a network of Farmers Markets supporting local food production. We were aiming to reverse the demise of small family farms and re-introducing the concept of buying local food directly from farmers and growers, brewers & cheese & cider makers,bakers,chefs & preserve makers. Trust was built up between customer and food producers who serve as an antidote to mass produced industrial scale farming and food production which adds nothing to the environment,local economy ,animal welfare and offers questionable nutritional value to the consumer.
We enforced low mileage and asked that non farmers use local ingredients where possible. We also encouraged shoppers to bring their own bags or purchase one of our re-usable jute bags of which 4,000 were produced over the last 10 years!
However we all recognise that the spotlight is now urgently on reducing single use ,non-renewable plastics so we are urging our members to evaluate their current packaging to ensure it can be re-cycled,re-used,compostable,or biodegradable depending on what they are producing.
We will share the good practice of our existing members and encourage new members to start off using the most environmentally friendly packaging for their produce.
Finally we thank and applaud our many customers who continue to bring their own re-usable bags and some of whom are also bringing along their own containers!
A Happy 2019 to you all.