Renato Castello “Journalist of the Sunday Mail”

To Renato Castello “Journalist of the Sunday Mail”

Regarding your article; “Pop up road stalls anger Adelaide Green grocers”.

Farm Direct markets has been trading in the Salisbury area now for nearly 3 years, the move to the new location at Salisbury was to improve our facilities, not to open a new market, so I find it hard to understand why the article in question was written.

The two objectors, both frequent markets to clear their stock, but I suppose this fact was never considered, neither were the facts explained to you in our conversation, I find it hard to even believe you were listening to what I had to say, do please never call me again.

Farm Direct is a registered business that pays rent, taxes and insurances, as do all of its stall holders, you already knew all this when you wrote the article, because I told you.

The smaller farms supported by our markets are doing it hard, they also have families, staff, rents, insurances, mortgages, utilities and taxes to pay, and since when was there GST on food stuffs, and if there was, I am sure they would also have to cough up.

How you have called us a pop up market after nearly 3 years of regular trade two days a week, is beyond my comprehension, let alone the article being presented in such a way as to undermine our great markets and what they are trying to achieve.

I could be led to believe you are an Australian with children, and would have hoped our fight to ensure they will have access to fresh local produce into the future, would be one you and your editor might just respect.

I note Andrew Dimasi in the article says “We are over-shopped here and we’ve got Aldi coming,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of product and at the end of the day it’s the grower who suffers, they won’t be able to get enough for their product.”

I fail to see how closing a market that allows the farmers and producers to get a fair price for their produce, will benefit the growers, I doubt Aldi are going to pay them more than they receive from dealing direct with their customers.

Oh yes, Dimasi wants to be the middle man in the deal, further eroding the farmers income, great person to interview on Farmers behalf.

Farm Direct took years to build by volunteers that did not wish to see Australia become a net food importer, and has always been all about support of our farmers and producers, to take that way, would be a swift kick in the farmers direction they can ill afford.

To even consider such a great market would be shut by the self-interest of two small on sellers, who appear to have forgotten just how many people rely on their employ as a result of the market would be a travesty.

The markets huge success clearly shows how the local community have voted, and the fact we have assisted in new farms being planted where the trend is the closure of Australian farms, might have seen you side with us in your article, or at least les bias.

I for one would like to see a little more balanced reporting on issues like this in the future.

Next time you even consider doing an article that affects so many lives, just maybe speak with the real stakeholders, the stall holders themselves, or even try a few of our thousands of supportive customers.

You have all but accused our many stall holders, over 100 in total of being tax dodgers, or simply dodgy traders, and that is not the case I can assure you. They are damn hard working honest people that simply wish to pay their overheads, keep their homes and farms and put food on the table.

As Market management I can prove every single one of them is fully compliant in every respect, but judging by the quality of your journalistic skills, I doubt you would let the facts get in the way of your story.

I would remind you of a speech from a man you might know, he was once considered the “Dean” of your profession “John Swinton” of the New York times, the speech was made at his retirement dinner, but I doubt you will have bothered to read past the first time I questioned your motives.

Mark Aldridge

Founder of Farm Direct community markets

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