Australian Fair Food Forum

Starting up a fresh produce market for people living on a low income

Hi everyone,

The Community Grocer is a social enterprise that aims to increase access for people living on a low income to fresh fruit and veggies. We do this by running weekly, local markets across Melbourne, and we recently launched our 5th market in Wyndham in August.

Open Food Network asked us to share some of the resources we developed to establish this market. Setting up a market is a long and detailed process and while this is not a full account of how we did it, we did want to share 2 key documents we use to support us through the process.

The first is a Feasibility Tool, which is a document put together by the prospective Market Manager that outlines the background of the markets development, the key objectives, essential local data on food security and a site analysis. This usually takes about 3-4 weeks to put together and requires a few partnership meetings and a site assessment, as well as some desktop work. It is a tool we use before setting up any market and we’ve found it prepares us well for site selection (which is so key!). The Community Grocer_FEASIBILITY REPORT.pdf (337.4 KB)

The second document is a governance document or a Terms of Reference. To support the establishment and launch of any market, we put together a Working Group of up to five local organisations who are interested and invested in food security and setting up a market. We usually find our Working Group includes the local health service, the organisation where the market is co-located, local service delivery organisations, schools and council. We develop a brief Terms of Reference which outlines everyone roles and responsibilities. Together, we develop an Operational Plan to get the market up and going which might be for three months (if it’s a pilot like the Wyndham market is) or up to a year if it’s an ongoing market.

Our other key guiding document is our Operations Manual, which does give a step by step account of how we go about setting up the markets - where we get our scales from to how we order fruit and veggies. Obviously this IP has been developed over a long time, and has taken a lot of effort and challenges to refine so we don’t share this outside of the organisation, but I thought you might like to know it’s there as a key piece of the puzzle.

If anyone is interested in seeing the first two documents, please email and we can arrange to send them to you.