Every Saturday morning the Albany Farmers Market is a hive of activity as locals and visitors make a bee-line to purchase fresh produce from the region.
Master of Urban and Regional Planning student Helena Shojaei is investigating the reasons why food producers choose to sell at farmers’ markets. She is identifying the economic and social drivers and constraints for participation in farmers’ markets, the potential multiplier effects for regional agribusinesses, and may include a short survey of farmers’ market consumers.
Ms Shojaei was awarded a prestigious UWA Agribusiness Connect Honours/Masters Regional Research Scholarship to help finance this research.
“Farmers’ markets have the potential to be a significant contributor to small scale farm businesses. Farmers’ markets are an excellent outlet for fresh produce sales networking opportunities and market testing. I’m very passionate about the relationship between the sustainability of the agricultural sector and urban and regional planning,” said Ms Shojaei.
The University of Western Australia is working with the Western Australian Farmers’ Market Association (WAFMA) to develop new research on the importance of farmers’ markets for regional development.
WAFMA Chairperson Ms Jenny Payet said “the Association is keen to support this research as there has been very little academic research on farmers’ markets in WA, despite rapid growth in the number of farmers’ markets operating in the state over the last five years”.
“The research will seek answers to whether the potential economic and social opportunities of farmers’ markets are actually afforded to participants and will serve as useful evidence for decision making around farmers markets, for example with local government,” she said.
The research project is being supervised by Dr Natasha Pauli and Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie of the School of Agriculture and Environment and Centre for Regional Development, UWA.
Paula Phillips (UWA Albany Centre Manager) (+61 8) 9842 0810