'Seed' funds vital

THE already successful Kiama Farmers Market's growth is likely to continue after its committee gained valuable seed funding.

The weekly markets at Black Beach started last month.

Stallholders from throughout the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands sell goods including bread, milk, cheeses, fruit, vegetables, meat and poultry, tea, coffee, preserves and jams, cakes, and gelato.

Organisers were recently granted a $2000 interest-free loan from the Kiama Show Society for "seed funding" to further promote the market.

Market manager Tricia Ashelford said they sought the funding from the society, which they urgently needed for banners, social media promotion, PR collateral and posters.

"Someone stole a banner in the first week, it was gut-wrenching [given their lack of funds]," she said.

"We had about 3000 people at the first one, it was crazy.

"Most stallholders sold out within the hour, and we want to keep it going."

Committee chairwoman Fiona Weir Walmsley said despite bad weather, the markets had been well-supported.

Each week about 35 stallholders sell their wares.

"Thanks to the community for their support; it's been amazing. And we've had lots of return customers."

Ms Ashelford said organisers had also applied for a state government grant.

Kiama Show Society president David Young said they had been approached by market organisers about financial assistance.

"We see the two organisations as being interlinked," he said. "Both organisations have similar objectives."

Mr Young said the event encouraged farmers, enabling them to sell at an easily accessible venue.

He said the show society was investigating incorporating the market into next year's Kiama Show.

The Kiama Farmers Market runs from 3pm to 6pm each Wednesday at Black Beach.

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