Farmers’ markets pushing for return
AS restrictions around COVID-19 are being slowly dialled back one of the hardest hit sectors in the region, farmers’ markets, are hopefully eyeing a return.
Coordinator of the Brown Hill Market and Ballarat Farmers’ Market, Steve Burns, said he’s been working with officers from the municipality on plan to get both sites back up and running.
“The City of Ballarat executive leadership team have made the in-principle decision that the Brown Hill Market and Ballarat Farmers’ Market can resume,” he said.
“Before that happens, I need to confirm exactly what arrangements need to be made to ensure social distancing and the safety of both stallholders and customers at the markets.”
If and when both markets do make a return, they won’t be as they were before the pandemic.
Mr Burns said things like raffles, entertainment and product sampling wouldn’t take place and handling of products would be limited to after purchase. Stalls would also be spaced out.
The location of the Ballarat Farmers’ Market at Lake Wendouree could also be different, with a move from the traditional site on the walking track to Zoo Drive, north of the Botanical Gardens, on the cards.
The relocation means that all types of stalls could return, not just produce.
“At Zoo Drive we’ll really be able to spread them out and get everybody in there,” Mr Burns said.
Brining back Brown Hill Market could be a harder proposition for the time being with State government restrictions limiting the number of people allowed in an indoor space to 20, plus stall holders.
While the markets have been out of action for the last nine weeks supporters have flocked to an online community called, We Love Ballarat Regional Produce, a Facebook group that’s gathered nearly 5000 members.