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Stallholder applications are now open for the 2021 Orange Farmers Market with this year promising to offer new marketing and sales opportunities to members.

Thanks to Newcrest’s Cadia Valley Operations, the Orange Farmers’ Market will not only survive the COVID-19 pandemic but thrive, with the development of a Click and Collect service and the introduction of a digital membership and stallholder application system.

As part of Cadia’s increased financial support for the community through the COVID-19 pandemic, Cadia provided $30,000 to one of Orange’s most loved monthly community event, the Orange Farmer’s Market.

While the Orange Farmers’ Market was able to continue throughout the pandemic, having received the go-ahead from the government who stated that all food markets were considered essential services, the markets were affected with older stallholders unable to attend, restrictions on the location where the market could be held, and shopper numbers declining during the isolation restrictions.

“Most of our stallholders who continued to show up every month to ensure the community could access fresh local produce,” said Orange Farmer’s Market president and local farmer Richard Dowling. “Following an extensive drought, leading to a reduction in stallholder fees, the pandemic couldn’t have come at a worse time but thanks to the Newcrest funding, we’ve been able to get back on our feet.”

The funding provided the opportunity to investigate whether it would be possible to add a shopping portal on the Orange Farmers Market website and the conclusion has meant the development of a Click and Collect option on the website that can be further developed as a complete online ecommerce site in the future if required.

“By having a Click and Collect service via our website in 2021, it means our stallholders can continue to provide fresh local produce to those who require it locally even if we return to a COVID lockdown situation,” Mr Dowling said.

The Orange Farmer’s Market is a not-for-profit organisation supporting and stimulating the profitable trading and business growth of independent primary producers, hobby farmers, community and home gardeners, and associated produce value-adders.

It provides customers with regular supplies of high-quality fresh food and access to improved nutrition while also contributing to the economic and social capital of the Orange community.

“The Orange Farmers Market is an integral part of the local community,” Mr Dowling said. “It aims to provide various social benefits including food and nutrition education, regeneration of community spirit and now, we’ll be able to do all of that and more.”

Cadia’s General Manager, Aaron Brannigan, said that Cadia was delighted to support the initiative as the Orange Farmers Markets is part integral part of the food loving community.

“Online shopping is a large part of the future of retail, especially in the immediate future due to ongoing restrictions relating to COVID-19. We see the Orange Farmer’s Markets as a staple part of our local community and we wanted to ensure all producers had the opportunity to sell their produce, even in tough times,” Aaron said.

The Click and Collect service will be up and running by March 2021.

The Orange Farmers Market is on the second Saturday of every month and follows strict COVID safe measurements to ensure the safety of shoppers and stallholders. For more information visit the website