Saturday March 16, 2019, was a big day for the Rotary Club of Hall’s Capital Region Farmers’ Market as we celebrated its 15th birthday.

When the club started the market, no one had any expectation that it would be as successful as it has become.

15th Birthday market
Customers enjoying their regular Saturday morning breakfast and coffee.

The Capital Region Farmers’ Market has touched many lives, not just in the local community, but far and wide across the world.

jerrabomberra rotary club
The always cheerful Jerrabomberra Rotary Club information stand.

The original idea was to establish a market as a community project that would:

  • provide an outlet where farmers could sell their produce,
  • become a place where customers could buy genuinely fresh produce,
  • enable a regular source of income that the Rotary Club could use to fund worthy community locally, nationally and globally.
2004 market layout
This was the layout for the first market in March 2004 at which 19 stallholders took part. Today, the market has 200 registered stallholders (many of them seasonal) and typically around 100 stallholders present every Saturday morning.

It has achieved all of this and much more. There are many stallholders that rely on the market for their family income. Many more started with a box or two of vegetables on one table, and now employ the entire family and arrive every Saturday with a truckload of produce.

Hourly raffle prizes
One of the passing customers makes the draw for the hourly raffle prize

Awards for 15 Years selling at the market

Eight of our original stallholders were there again on the day and each received a certificate for their 15 years of attendance.

Pictured with each recipient are current club President Janine Linklater with the first Market Manager, Rob Durie (in hat) and the current Rotary Club of Hall Market Director, John Kenworthy.

There are many regular visitors to the Capital Region Farmers’ Market. The Kallir Preece family, Christine, David and Matthew have been proud customers at the market since day one, only missing the market nine times in the past 15 years.

‘It is a Canberra institution and a part of our life’ they said.

The Kallir Preece family
Christine, David and Matthew Kallir Preece are loyal customers who have only missed nine Saturday markets in 15 years.

What makes the Kallir Preece family’s relationship with the market extra special, is that, as fate would have it, their disabled son is one of the regular participants in the MULCH program which the Rotary Club of Hall has championed from inception.

Marymead’s Urban Land Community Harvest (MULCH) is a program in which participants with disabilities are assisted by carers to work in the vegetable garden where they learn new skills and enjoy a rewarding sense of belonging.

The Rotary Club of Hall team

Recipients of regular funding from the market

The projects that the club has been able to support over the last 15 years are too innumerable to list here, but a few of the organisations that regularly receive financial support from the Rotary Club of Hall through funds raised through the Capital Region Farmers’ Market were on hand to discuss their projects.

Some of the recipient organisations that had displays at the 15th Birthday market included MULCH, Bernardos, Parkinson’s ACT and Abundant Water.

Past Rotary Club of Hall President, Dave Pentony (2002-2003) and one of the original stallholders, visited the market to catch up with some old friends. he brought one of the original market signs, to show how much the market has changed.

1st market sign
Past President of the club and one of the original stallholders, Dave Pentony with the first market manager Rob Durie and current CRFM Director John Kenworthy with Jindebah Coffee’s Quentin Ainscough.