My Local Feast Farmers’ Market in Toowoomba aims to help Toowoomba’s farmers’ markets become home to some of the area’s newest farming and food entrepreneurs.

The program provides new ventures, food and farm product development, and social entreprise, along with more than 60 farmers and stallholders who attend the markets each Thursday and fortnightly Saturday.

My Local Feast founder and farmer, Josie Townsend says the markets are all about having an open mind in order to collaborate and support new ventures through the ups and downs of building a business.

“Sometimes it’s providing a free stall for a couple of weeks, sometimes it’s a motivational chat about business and what the market is asking for, sometimes it’s the farmers and stallholders working together to network and share with each other and we simply provide the hub for them to connect,” she said.

With an established foot in the Toowoomba food industry, the markets have already proven a success to several local new business owners, one of them being eighteen-year-old Josh Patterson.

From small beginnings with a stall at the market, Patterson expanded by selling a handful of micro-herbs before attending one of the market’s start-up workshops. Now known as Flare Specialty Produce, Patterson supplies local grocers Westridge Fruit and Market with several hundred salad tubs, micro greens and edible flowers each week. He has also become a key supplier to seven local restaurants.

Rod and Joan Kambouris of Budgee Garlic and Herbs started selling at the market in 2015, farming 700 plants of garlic and herbs. Now farming 32,000 plants, the couple’s business has exploded as they try to meet demands over each season.

With a new focus in the region on local food and food tourism, farmers’ markets are an ideal way of supporting local farmers and businesses as well as launching any new ventures in local produce.

“It takes the whole community to make initiatives like these work and being a regional centre, a focus on supporting the seeds of innovation in farming and food makes a lot of sense,” Townsend says.

My Local Feast Farmers’ Markets are every Thursday at the Empire Theatre from 12 pm to 6 pm and every second Saturday beside the Cobb & Co Museum from 7 am to 2 pm.

Read about the Toowoomba farmers markets here.