Otago Farmers Market

About The Otago Farmers Market

In 2001, and with Dunedin City Council encouragement, a Farmers Market Project Group discussed the possibility of establishing a Farmers Market, initially in the southern Exchange area of the central city. It was soon realized that this site was neither suitable nor safe so when an offer was made to lease the Dunedin Railway Station North Car Park, it was gratefully accepted.

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 six Trustees and a five-member Advisory Board (all volunteers). On a part-time basis, the Trust employs a General Manager, a Site Assistant, and an Administrator.

Applications to trade, from prospective new vendors, are considered by the Trust, Advisory Board and staff.
Matters of governance are the domain of the Trustees, while operational issues are largely dealt with by the General Manager and a Management Committee.

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.


Rodger Whitson

Rodger Whitson

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.

He lives in Janefield on the outskirts of Mosgiel, is an active member of the local rugby club, and enjoys fly fishing.

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