About The Otago Farmers Market
Progress was then rapid and the first Otago Farmers Market Trust weekly market was held early in March 2003. Seed-funding grants had been made by DCC and the Otago Community Trust, enabling OFMT to advertise and eventually employ the first part-time staff member.
Producer names were gathered, making sure a well-balanced range of products was made available for the public, and this is still the Trust’s policy.
The first Market was a great leap of faith on the part of Otago Farmers Market Trust and the twenty three Vendors who came that day. The event more than surpassed the Trust’s expectations, and hundreds of customers and well-wishers came from all over the city and surrounding areas, to converge on the Market venue.
Each Vendor at the Market has a signed contract with OFMT and their compliance with the Terms and Conditions means that the Trust is able to maintain an excellent relationship with relevant departments of Dunedin City Council, such as City Property and Environmental Health.
Food and Public Safety at each weekly Market is always given the highest priority.
The present Trust consists of seven Trustees and a seven-member Advisory Board (all volunteers). On a part-time basis, the Trust employs a General Manager, Market Manager, two Site Assistants, and a Minute Secretary. Until recently we were also well-supported by a loyal team of volunteers who played a vital role on Market days, liaising with members of the public, and the Vendors. It is hoped that these supporters will, in the future, form the nucleus of a Friends of the Otago Farmers Market group.
Applications to trade, from prospective new vendors, are considered by the Trust, Advisory Board and staff.
Matters of governance are the province of the Trustees, while operational issues are largely dealt with by employed staff and a Management Committee.
As an example of its community outreach and as a charitable trust, Otago Farmers Market Trust is able to offer prizes and scholarships to horticultural and agricultural students, has taken a part in sponsoring the Gardens in Primary Schools Scheme, and other related projects are assessed and considered from time to time.
In 2005 the Trust was proud to receive the local regional Trustpower Award for Heritage and Environment.
From a germ of an idea to establish a farmers market at the south end of the city, we now have an operation at the attractive and historic Railway Station. Otago Farmers Market has rapidly become a weekly social event and part of the city’s fabric. It is of measurable economic benefit to Dunedin, Otago and neighbouring regions, regularly attracting several thousand customers.Saturday mornings in Dunedin have been changed for ever.
Otago Farmers Saturday Market takes place every Saturday morning, from 8am until 12.30pm, unless, very infrequently, a major Public Holiday makes other arrangements necessary.
Otago Farmers Market Trust Chairperson
Rodger Whitson has been the Chair of the Otago Farmers Market Trust since August 2010.
A long-time vendor, Rodger sells hydroponic lettuces, and paeonies when they are in season.
Rodger lives in Janefield on the outskirts of Mosgiel, is an active member of the local rugby club, and enjoys fly fishing.
One of the early vendors at the Otago Farmers Saturday Market, Lesley Cox gave up her stall to become Market Manager. Every Saturday Morning Lesley, with staff and volunteers, ensures the market is set up correctly and that it runs smoothly throughout the morning.
Lesley has extensive knowledge of the products and vendors at the market and is at the Saturday Market Site Office ready to answer your questions.
Lesley is a very keen grower of alpine plants and miniature bulbs. She is recognised nationally and internationally as a writer and lecturer about these and rock gardening. Her other loves are reading and classical music.