Grey Lynn Farmers Market Chair’s report 2015

Grey Lynn Farmers market collargeOn Sunday 18th October 2015 at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market AGM  I gave my final annual chair’s report 

Thank you for coming along today and for your support of the market.

The last year has been defined by an unwanted Australian visitor! The fruitfly crisis hit in February and it has been particularly challenging for the market. It certainly had an impact on stallholders and kept customers from outside the zone away. Fortunately Louise, the market manager at the time capably leapt into response mode (even while away on holiday) to ensure the market was able to keep operating and compliant with a host of new rules and regular inspections.  It is not over yet but hopefully the worst is behind us and we can look forward to returning back to “normal” this summer – although it is hard to say what normal is for the market as there is never a dull moment.

Current and former GFLM committee members with Lynda Hallinan at the 5th birthday celebrations
Current and former GFLM committee members with Lynda Hallinan at the 5th birthday celebrations

The crisis highlighted that we continue to be in a precarious financial position running a community owned market on limited reserves but also that we are fortunate to have many supporters who want to see the market continue to thrive and are willing to rally around.

The big responsibility for ensuring the market opens each week falls on the market manager. In my 5 years as chair I’ve never received an emergency Sunday morning call – there has always been someone dependable to open up (we’ve only had the fire brigade show up once!). The market has been really fortunate to always have a capable & talented manager in the role (I don’t think anything can really prepare a new manager for what is involved in running the market!)

I’d like to acknowledge Louise who was manager until May and as mentioned did an amazing job coping with the fruitfly crisis. Louise brought new stalls to the market, organised Flowersworkshops, started the Ponsonby news column profiling stallholders and expanded our profile on social media.  We’re very fortunate that Frances, a Grey Lynner was able to take over as manager from Louise in June.   I thank them both for the smooth transition and the dedication and skills they brought and bring to the role.

Frances will be reporting on the operations over the last year so I would like concentrate on the many acknowledgements.

Supporting Frances in her role is long serving and super reliable Callum now in his 4th year with the market. Callum has back up from brother Oliver and until  recently Barbara Folkard, committee member was filling in on the last Sunday of the month.

I’ve been fortunate to work with a really positive, fantastic committee members over the last 5 years. More recently Susanna (who has had the latest market baby), Caroline (left during the year after many years supporting the market including a big donation at a critical time), Donald ( Treasurer for many years who more recently has been providing amazing accountantancy support), Louise Plastic free GLFMand Charlotte both previous managers bring their considerable talents to the committee, June (our newest committee member), Nico, (who resigned a couple of months ago), Javier (always there for Grey Lynn and the Market), Rebekah (long serving stallholder rep) and Maggie (longest serving committee member who has provided huge amounts of support for the Chair’s role).

All committee members are passionately committed to our core aim of providing fresh, local produce for our community and our principles such as a commitment to sustainablilty and ethical produce that keep us on course and are our point of difference.  Many thanks to the committee past and present. I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with you all.

I have many other thanks for everyone who supports the market:

  • Stallholders – especially Lynn Green and Tessa who are here today  (sadly Tessa’s last market after being a stallholder almost since the first week of the market)
  • Friends of the Market – the members of the market
  • Sponsors – Ripe Deli, Nature Baby
  • Grey Lynn Waste Away team – who’ve had a regular stall at the market
  • Grey Lynn Community Centre – our special venue.
  • Supporters behind the scene – We Compost, Jason – website
  • super sponsor Martin Leach and Ponsonby News (we’ve really appreciated the great coverage like the 2 page spread for the 5th birthday celebrations, a weekly column and advertising) .

And of course the customers who make the market a Sunday habit every week.

After 5 years – that started with Anthea Oglivie twisting my arm to join the committee – I feel the time has come to step down as chair and from the committee.

There have definitely been many highlights including seeing the market grow into a place that locals want to come each week;  our commitment to keep it authentic; meeting and working with great people;  seeing the market being an incubator for new enterprises – for example Olive & Poppy, Carew Kitchen, Paradise Lost Flowers – started out on the community trading table and is now a business.  Personal highlight was being awarded the SBN Sustainability Champion award in 2011 (thanks to Anthea who put in the nomination on behalf of the market)

However there is still unfinished business. There is always more to do for example signage and labelling; building up a bigger pot of reserves (we are not for profit but that doesn’t mean we can’t make profit);  moving from fire fighting to really reach the full potential of the market.  I think fresh leadership is now needed to take the market forward.

As I like to do every year I would like to end by acknowledging the “founders”. Those members of our community who decided in late 2008, at one of the first GL2030 meetings, that Grey Lynn needed a farmers market with a vision of providing the community with access to fresh, local produce in a unique, vibrant inner-city location.

I wish the new committee all the best for the future .  Thank you for your support in continuing the vision of our founders.

Community owned Grey Lynn Farmers Market celebrates 5th anniversary

Fifth birthday posterMedia Release Grey Lynn Farmers Market

10 September 2014

Community owned Grey Lynn Farmers Market celebrates 5th anniversary

Grey Lynn Farmers Market, community owned and operated social enterprise, celebrates 5 years of providing access to local, seasonal food in a vibrant inner city venue for local farmers and producers to sell their goods direct to consumers.

“The market is far more than a shopping experience” says Market Manager Louise Carr- Neil. “Over the years the market has provided an opportunity for budding artisan food producers to test the market and grow business skills. It is a community space with regular workshops, fundraising stalls, buskers and activities for kids.

“The market has also been a trail blazer for operating sustainably. The market aims to be zero waste, with no waste to landfill created at the market”.  Producers are prioritised who use locally sourced ingredients, as well as those who use fair trade, organic, free range and are GMO free.

Louise Carr- Neill with the GLFM signUniquely, the market has a community trading table, where backyard growers can sell their garden surplus. Any profits are returned to running and promoting the market.

“As a social enterprise we’ve been able to succeed because of the support of the community who want an alternative to supermarkets and the many hours put into the market by volunteers. We think there is lots to celebrate that the market is still operating after 5 years” says Ms Carr-Neil


Louise Carr-Neil, Grey Lynn Farmers Market manager Mobile: 0211530714


Twitter @GLFM


The Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market is a community owned and operated by a volunteer management committee (I have been Chair of the Management Committee for the last four years).  The idea for a market came from a meeting held by Grey Lynn 2030 Transition Town community group in 2008.

The Grey Lynn Farmers Market opened on 9 September 2009 providing an alternative to supermarkets with locally grown, seasonal produce. The market is committed to working towards zero waste. We prioritise artisan producers who use locally sourced ingredients, as well as those who use fair trade, organic, free range and are GMO free.

The market is on very Sunday from 9am to 12.30pm at the Grey Lynn Community Centre, 510 Richmond Road.

Birthday celebrations are on Sunday 14th September.  Live music with Bernie Griffen. Special guest Lynda Hallinan, Editor at large, NZ Gardener.  Cake cutting at 11:30am, free entertainment for the kids.

Grey Lynn Farmers Market Chair’s report 2013

glfm-logo-rgb-800x400On Sunday the Grey Lynn Farmers Market celebrated its fourth birthday and we held our AGM over a lunch of delicious market food.

Here is my Chair’s report for 2013 (the end of my third year as Chair)

Thank you for all coming along.  I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the last 12 months and to give thanks to everyone who is part of our market.

At the end of last year the committee took part in a strategy session with Suzanne Kendrick to think about the long term direction of the market. We discussed:

  • the strengths of the market – the great community feel, the strong values base:
  • the opportunities – to grow the market bigger and take “local” more mainstream.  The health, wellness andGrey Lynn Farmers market collarge sustainability story  we have at the market

And of course no strategy session would be complete without reflecting on the weaknesses and threats to the market  – our limited marketing budget, the perception we are too expensive, boutique and the increased competition from other food options and destinations in the local area

But we came away in good heart confirming our commitment to our core aim of providing fresh, local produce for our community.  We also confirmed the non- negotiable principles that keep us on course and are our point of difference.

  • —  local produce prioritised
  • —  ethical produce prioritised (free range, organic, GMO free)
  • —  community run market
  • —   collaborative decision making by committee
  • —  being a hub for the community
  • —  and a commitment to sustainability (waste minimisation)

Soul samba circus play at the GLFMWe set priorities for this year with the most important being to attract more new customers from the local area and have customers stay longer at the market. We set ourselves the goal of more marketing and providing more activities and reasons to come to the market.  Sarah has outlined in her report the many achievements and results from over the last year.

It is the unique qualities of the market  that  make it special for me personally and the reason why I keep coming back (and yes to stand again for the committee).

I’d like to acknowledge and thank all those who  are committed to the market and keep us running.

Charlotte as the market manager until the end of 2012 before leaving us to have market baby Gabriel ticked off significant milestones that I was able to report on at the AGM last year eg opening on a Sunday, a new website and getting EFTPOS at the market. Fortunately for us Charlotte remains in the market family on the committee with Ben very much in support.

She handed the reins over to Sarah at the beginning of this year. Because of the strong foundations I think Sarah was able to hit the ground running and build on the strengths of the market. Sarah is doing fantastic work managing the market with steady determination, integrity  and sense of purpose.

I’m fortunate to work with a fantastic committee who all contribute so much and best of all are all standing again!    Susanna – our secretary who rejoined us during the year, Maggie, Caroline, Javier,  Donald (our amazing Treasurer) and Rebekah our stall holder representative.  And I acknowledge Rachel who left us during the year to go to Melbourne.   A big thank you to all the committee members who work for the market as volunteers.

Central to the market are of course the Stallholders.  It is great to have here at the AGM–Lynn and Carol  (foundation stallholders),  new stallholder Anita and Griff who “owns” the lobby with his massage chair. Without you the market wouldn’t happen.

We totally appreciate there is always more to do to get the perfect mix of stallholders and increase customers coming to the market. Thanks to all the support from stallholders in working towards this goal.

We have very generous sponsors who I would like to acknowledge – Ripe Deli has been a sponsor right from the beginning and has just signed up for another year.  Nature Baby came on board during the year to keep story time going (not just for kids). GLBA are just ending a year of sponsorship but looking at a new arrangement. We are fortunate to benefit from significant collaboration between all the Grey Lynn groups

I’d like to do a big shout out to our generous supporters – Martin Leach at Ponsonby News, Ben for his work on our refreshed logo, Suzanne Kendrick who guided us through our strategy session,  Jason for use of the law centre carpark on a monthly basis in exchange for a donation to Gardens to Table; the many presenters at workshops , Grey Lynn 2030 waste away team who have a stall each week at the market, the supporters of the Community Trading table, the Grey Lynn Community Centre (represented today by Peter) . We are fortunate to have developed a special partnership with the centre as the market location.

Many thanks to our “Friends” of the market who provide vital financial support.  The Friends scheme has been growing with the support of stallholders able to offer generous specials.  I’d like to thank everyone who continues to support the market through membership to the Friends scheme.

And finally I would like to acknowledge the “founders”. Those members of our community who decided in late 2008, at one of the first GL2030 meetings, that Grey Lynn needed a farmers market with a vision of providing the community with access to fresh, local produce in a unique, vibrant inner-city location.

I still feel excited about the market. It is the place I want to visit on a Sunday morning and where I want to do my shopping.  After our strategy session and reflecting on where we are now I am even more convinced that what we are doing is relevant and vital . I hope you will join me in committing to another year  of ensuring the market provides  great value, fresh, healthy seasonal produce to our community and that we are always ethical, sustainable, local, friendly, welcoming and a bustle of activity.

Food Bill concerns

Over the Christmas break a huge number of emails were flying around on the Food Bill. Not all of it was easy to follow or correct but there is obviously a lot of  genuine concern about what is proposed and amendments are needed.
As Chair of the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market Management Committee I’ve pulled together what I think are the main issues. 
Community food under threat
Unique to the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market is the community trading table. Back garden growers can bring their excess produce to sell at the table. It works on an honesty box system. Bundle, label and price your produce to leave at the table with a container for coins. Come back at the end of the market to collect your earnings and anything unsold.

The table started at the market in April 2011 as a bit of an experiment to fill the gap left when the Ooooby ended their stall to focus on weekly food boxes. It has become a much loved and popular part of our market that goes beyond just selling home grown veges for extra pocket money. It is a central place to meet, exchange ideas and marvel over the wonders of what can be grown in a back garden.

It is therefore of huge concern that the trading table, as well as the market as a whole, is under treat because of the onerous food regulations proposed in the draft Food Bill. The bill aims to update 30-year-old legislation to better protect consumers and create a new framework for food safety. We  support a review of the Food Act 1981 as it needs to be updated, unfortunately the Bill as drafted:

  • Places onerous and potentially expensive compliance costs on small operators. This is particularly worrying for traders at farmers’ markets who already operate within limited margins
  • Requires small growers, people who sell food directly to consumers, and those who barter or swap food to have a “national safety plan”. It is unlikely the trading table would be able to continue with these requirements
  • Includes seeds for cultivation and food seedlings in the current definition of “food” thereby extending the scope of the Bill to seed exchanges
  •  Gives excessive powers to food safety officers to  to enter and search premises without a warrant in some circumstances and use any force necessary, while being immune from civil or criminal liability.

Food safety is a paramount consideration at farmers’ markets and we recognise the need to take a best practice approach to keeping our customers healthy. There are many aspects of the Food Bill that improve the approach of the current legislation. However we want to ensure the Food Bill does not have the potential to threaten farmers’ markets and the unique role they play in encouraging local food production and access to reasonably priced produce.

The GLFM will be calling on the Minister for Food Safety, Kate Wilkinson to respond to the genuine concerns about the Food Bill. There is still time to make amendments to the Bill so we can look forward to keeping our trading table operating within a vibrant farmers market providing fresh, local and seasonal produce to our community.

Grey Lynn Farmers Market featured on a Campbell Live item on the Food Bill, 22 November 2011 

Petition opposing the Food Bill

Interested in using the Trading Table? Free for Friends of the Market or $3 per casual user . More details here

Sustainability Champion Award

I feel incredibly honoured to have won the Sustainability Champion Award at the 2011 NZI National  sustainable business awards in November. I received the award for my work with the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market and Cycle Action Auckland but I really want to acknowledge the hard work of everyone associated with these organisations. I am just in the fortunate position of being able to champion what has been put in place by those with the initial vision, passion and commitment.  

I also thank Anthea Ogilvie for taking the time to make the nomination and all those who contributed from the market and CAA .

About the Sustainable Champion Award (sponsored by Element Magazine)

The award celebrates key people or teams who have been ‘sustainability superstars’ within their organisation.  It recognises people who have gone ‘above and beyond’ in creating and implementing successful sustainability-oriented programmes and initiatives in their organisation.

Background from the nomination

What the judges said:

  • Clear leader and driver of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market.
  • Exemplifies and inspires what one person can do to connect community.
  • Driving local retail and small business when these businesses wouldn’t ordinarily be able to compete in the commercial environment.

The awards are organised by wonderful team at the Sustainable Business Network

Keeping it local at the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market

At the  Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market AGM in September I was honoured to be the guest speaker. Here is the speech I gave as a tribute to the market on behalf of Grey Lynn 2030.

I am fortunate to have many opportunities to talk about our community group Grey Lynn 2030. Very often when I mention our name “Grey Lynn 2030” I am met by a blank look and slight incomprehension (what do the numbers mean?).  But when I follow up by saying that Grey Lynn 2030 was the catalyst behind the Grey Lynn Farmers’ Market there is immediate understanding and appreciation – of course there is a farmers market in Grey Lynn! Of course it is connected to the community!

I and the rest of the Grey Lynn 2030 steering committee feel really proud to be associated with the market.  For me the foundation of the market is a perfect example of the way a transition town group can encourage local action and cooperation.

The story of the market’s beginnings needs to be captured for posterity before it slips away and takes on mythical qualities. Here is the version I hope is accurate.

As I’m sure you all know Grey Lynn 2030 is a about creating a sustainable community through practical action. We have monthly participatory meetings – essentially bring your ideas along to create the communities we want to live in and make them happen!

At one of the first meetings Vincent Dickie was present. He understood about the importance of local access to food, eating seasonally and re-skilling the community in urban food production. He put the call out to start a farmers market, formed a team of willing volunteers and within less than a year it was up and running!

As a self styled ambassador for the market I often hear complaints about the market. For example that it is too expensive and crowded (a myth perpetuated by those who came on the first day only or presume the market is a boutique one). The management committee take the brunt of negative comments rather than hearing the appreciation for the market that we know is out there too. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to reflect on and celebrate just how wonderful the market is, the fabulous people associated with it and what the market contributes to our community:

  • For me Sunday doesn’t feel right without a visit to the Market. It is not just about the weekly shop of fresh fruit and veg – it is the social time I have catching up with friends and neighbours. There is no such thing as popping into the market quickly!
  • I love keeping it local. We are lucky to have a market located centrally in our community. We can end our supermarket dependency right here in Grey Lynn.
  • I love the vibrancy of the market and how it acts as a community hub. Take the Tumeke Cycle Space (community bike workshop) now fixing bikes outside the market twice a month. And the story telling. And the busking
  • And of course the people. It is the people of the market that make it happen and keep it functioning so successfully. I thank you all for your hard work, vision and commitment. The management committee, Paul the previous market manager, Judith the administrator and now taking over as manager, the stall holders (they’ve had a hard winter and deserve our support), the Grey Lynn Community Centre, Len the caretaker, the members from the first day of the market and the visitors and shoppers – keep shopping!

I’d like to think that there will be a wide range of community initiatives that will put Grey Lynn 2030 on the map but I don’t think anything will eclipse the Farmers Market anytime soon.

Postscript: At the AGM I joined the management committee and was elected as Chair last night at our first meeting. I look forward to working with the new committee and building on the strong foundations put in place for a successful market by the original team.