Fresh produce sold online

DO YOU always miss the farmers' markets and want local produce instead of just what's at the supermarket?

EcoMart Northern Rivers is a new co-operative allowing local farmers to sell their produce directly to local consumers with the ease of online shopping.

President Lee Ann Hally and general manager Effie Ablett are looking for producers to join the co-op, and said it didn't matter whether they were a large commercial producer or just had a few spare cucumbers or oranges in the backyard.

“We're looking for people producing everything at the moment, even small producers who sell things in dribs and drabs,” Ms Ablett said.

“If just one per cent of people on the Northern Rivers sell $20 worth of produce per week, there would be $500,000 worth of produce sold in a year.”

Ms Hally said even young people could get involved and make a bit of pocket money.

“I'm a teacher, and would like to encourage students to get involved,” she said.

Ms Hally said the freshness of produce was important.

“It isn't mass-produced, which will make a great difference to taste and quality,” she said.

EcoMart Northern Rivers may well offer more than just fresh fruit and vegies, withlocally-made cosmetics also on the cards, and director John Knapen said they aimed to make local produce and goods the norm when people shopped for their groceries.

“If the community supports it now, local production will expand so that in the future most fresh produce can beobtained locally,” he said.

The first of its kind in Australia, EcoMart provides easy shopping, product delivery and feedback from consumers to producers.

Ms Ablett hopes to get more than 50 producers involved before people can shop from the website in September.

“We need food security, because in 10 years' time transport costs are going to get high, and it's important to have local manufacturing and our own food,” she said.

EcoMart foundation member and Ballina Shire councillor Jeff Johnson is looking forward to the first basket of locally-grown produce.

“It's distributed locally and not only cuts down on food miles, it gives local farmers a reasonable price for their produce,” he said.

To join EcoMart Northern Rivers, or just to find out what it's all about, visit

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