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Christmas has come early for local foodies, with the launch of a new weekly Toowoomba farmers’ market. As of December, residents will be able to stock up on fresh regional produce every Thursday from 3-7pm, at the ‘My Local Feast Farmers’ Markets’, held on the lawns of the heritage-listed Empire Theatre.

The farm-to-fork initiative comes after three years in the making for local food enthusiant Josie Townsend. She explains, “we live in one of Australia’s most incredible food growing regions and it has amazed me that there are no regular farmers’ market where I can buy my fresh produce weekly”. Townsend is currently the director of Mojo Business Management, who are running the markets, and possesses extensive industry experience, including the coordination of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Despite this, the project took a while to lift off, when rigorous planning fell flat in the face of repeated denial by potential hosts. However, she did not lose hope and her efforts were rewarded with the current arrangement to trial the market at the Empire Theatre.

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Envisioning the growth of a “collaborative, active and powerful local food trading economy”, she shares business plans of launching a digital platform for “national food connection” early next year. Furthermore, she credits the market’s realisation to the active support of Empire Theatre’s general manager Kerry Saul. Through the synthesis of food and culture in the vibrant precinct, Townsend aims to “open our arms to the broader community, while supporting our farmers”.

Notably, the markets are a no-waste affair. All utensils will be reusable and can either be brought from home or purchased on site. As such, plastics and disposables are outlawed, all in the name of promoting sustainable living. With entertainment provided by the Empire Theatre, the evening promises something for everyone.

For those interested in vending or volunteering at the farmers’ markets, please contact Josie Townsend on 0432 267 003, visit the Facebook page or go to www.mylocalfeastfarmersmarkets.com.au.

Words by Arabella Creagh
Images supplied by Josie Townsend