Every Friday morning Lygon St, Carlton is a vivid “smash together” of cultures according to the Community Grocer’s Market Manager Laura Christie. For her, the best part of the job is seeing people “connecting over food.”
The Community Grocer aim to provide the entire community with 100% Aussie fresh fruit and veggies at the lowest price they can, sourcing from wholesalers, the community, and even their own backyards.
The long-term goal of sourcing directly from farmers is a little way off according to Christie, “We have to get to a certain scale before a farmer will even talk to us.”
In the mean-time the community are essential, even the little ones are involved with Carlton Primary School growing herbs, silver beet and lettuce for the weekly Carlton market.
“We talk to them about our standard of quality, what we’re willing to pay and what the markup is, it’s a great little business lesson.” Christie said.
The only markup made on the produce covers the essentials of running a market, “We try to keep it absolutely as affordable as we can.” Christie said.
2017 is a big year for the grocer with four new markets set to open across Victoria, each one funded by a community or council grant.
Fitzroy’s new location, right next door to Atherton Reserve will be open for business mid-March, piloting the first evening shop, open from 2pm-6pm every Tuesday.
“We think it’ll be better in terms of getting the rest of the neighbourhood to come and shop with us as well, instead of just the public housing.” Christie said.
Although the markets are strategically placed in easy access to public housing, the grocer is open to absolutely everyone who wants to bag a bargain.
“Anyone can come down and do your shop with us, it’s gonna be the best price you find in town, you’re putting money back into the community and removing money from the duopoly that isn’t good for farmers and isn’t good for our communities.” Christie said.
Mernda, Cardinia and Wyndham will soon be in sight of their own markets, later in the year.
Keep posted on Fitzroy’s upcoming market at 125 Napier St on the grocer’s website, or if you simply can’t wait, 510 Lygon St is buzzing every Friday from 9am.