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.