Lismore Organic Market turns 16
IT WAS no surprise that the cake celebrating the Lismore Organic Market's 16th birthday was a raw vegan chocolate beetroot cake with a hint of star anise.
Stallholder Arpita Ariell made the cake, and said it took a few hours and had activated nuts and raw cacao.
"It was my pleasure to bake it," she said. "It tastes a bit like chocolate mudcake."
"I am really happy to see people here week after week.
"It feels like a community."
Arpita has been selling tempeh at the markets for the past 18 months.
Arpita said tempeh was a traditional Indonesian fermented protein which acted as a healthy meat alternative.
"I love the appreciation of good food in the area. And I wrap my product in banana leaves which means no plastic wrappers."
Also part of the celebration was a clothes swap which linked into the theme of sustainable living.
There was a buzz around the markets as people bought their produce.
And that's exactly what co-founder David Roby was thrilled to see.
"We wanted to create a local place where organic farmers could buy and sell local produce," he said. "It was terrible to grow in a sustainable way and have it shipped to the city ... sometimes it would come back to a local shop.
"The contact between consumer and grower means the knowledge line isn't broken.
"Real knowledge flows to the consumer about their food and the farmers get real feedback. It forms trust."
David said the Lismore Organic Market was the first weekly market in the area and the first organic market in Australia to sell certified organic produce.
"We now have 30 markets in the area and we are happy to promote all of them.
"As a result our stall numbers are similar to our third year but we now have markets all over the region."
Margo Rutledge is a great example of the success of the markets. She was a customer for 10 years before she became a stallholder herself.
"We just love being involved and we think it is really important that fresh, organic food is available to the community," she said.