GOAN FARMERS MARKET – bridging the gap between the local vendor and the buyer
Today, people the world over have become more health conscious. Staying fit is the mantra of the day. One important factor to fitness and health – a healthy diet. Having this in mind, sisters Chiara, Sheena and Anne, with Ian, introduced the ‘Goan Farmers Market.’
“Goan Farmers Market is the brainchild of the Viegas sisters Chiara, Sheena, Anne and Ian Menezes, Sheena’s husband” stated Chiara. The idea cropped up over lunch one day when we were discussing how difficult it was to source local fruits and vegetables.”
“Even local women don’t necessarily sell locally grown or “gaunti” fruits and vegetables. So we decided to do something about it. And that’s how we started Goan Farmers Market.”
Through their idea, they have successfully provided a platform for local farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers. In this way, promoting local goan produce. Farmers usually have middlemen buying the produce from them and selling it at higher rates in the local and city markets. With the middlemen giving the farmers low returns on their produce, the farmers are unable to make ends meet.
On introducing the Farmers Market, sisters Chiara, Sheena and Anne including Ian, feel that farmers will, at last, reap the fruits of their labour. Thus encouraging more farmers into cultivation rather than selling their land for development.
Bringing fresh farm produce from different sources under one roof encourages people to “buy local and eat local,” says Chiara. Not only that, but people come in contact with the farmers directly. For those who have kitchen gardens or those who would like to start their own kitchen garden, this would be a great opportunity to get advice directly from the farmers. Each plant requires a different type of soil or manure. No one knows these details better than the farmer himself. Composting for organic crop is gaining ground. Most local farmers cannot afford chemical fertilisers, thus resorting to compost or cow-dung for their plants. Chiara adds, “people can seek help when starting their own farms, which has actually happened.”
The vendors participating in the market have begun getting business outside the Farmers Market as well, which is wonderful said she. The Viegas sisters have proved beyond doubt that their Farmers Market showed how people related to the idea of “ buying local.”
“At the last market held in December, we had 16 stalls selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, quail eggs, fresh cows milk, homemade ghee, Goan sweets like bebinca,batica, shevyo, and dodol, homemade masalas and pickles and Goan-Portuguese dishes like pasteis de banana, empadinhas and apa de camarao. Also on display were handcrafted soaps and quilted bags. We also had a stall displaying vertical hydroponics.” writes Chiara as she sets the date for the next market on 12th February.
The venue is the same as the last market, House no. 14, Abade Faria Rd, near Damodar Temple, Opposite Lar de Santa Clara, Margao. It should remain the same for the next few markets informed Chiara. On being asked about organising a Goan Farmers Market in North Goa, Chiara explains, “For now we will stick to Margao, but plan to take it to other parts of Goa in the near future. We are working with the farmers to determine a calendar for the upcoming markets and will be able to share once finalised. ‘
We hope to see you there!