Through the auspices of the Great Southern Regional Market Association the Albany Farmers Market started operation in April 2002 every Saturday on a vacant lot in the Albany CBD. Starting with just eleven producers the market is now regularly offering up to 30 widely different producers with a vast range of locally grown produce and value added products.
The markets are now an Incorporated body - owned and run by the producers themselves. They manage their own affairs, are self-funding and employ a part-time Market Coordinator to administer the market operation, promote the markets and recruit new producers.
The philosophy behind the Market is based upon the realisation, around the world, that Farmers Markets answer community needs that are in danger of being lost in the "modern" food distribution and retail system.
The Albany Farmers Market contributes to the revitalisation of Albany and the surrounding communities. It creates an opportunity for customers to purchase fresh, local,seasonal produce direct from the the producer, whilst educating consumers about how their food is grown and processed.
They have established for themselves several simple guidelines which are incorporated into a Market Charter. This ensures that the integrity of the market is preserved, the standard of produce offered for sale is of top quality,and that the market stays true to being a fresh food market, offering only locally grown/raised/caught produce.
Farmers are encouraged to value add their own produce, rather than create an imbalance by an overload of purely food manufacturers to fresh food producers in the market. Art, craft and items such as soaps, candles are not permitted to be sold in the market.
All produce must be grown by the producers themselves within the defined area of the Great Southern Region. A ceiling is put on the number of producers at any one market who can sell the same produce.
All produce must be of top grade with NO late discounting. In this way the markets and the producers have established for themselves a reputation for consistent high quality local produce