Market move makes sense

Shifting the Timaru Farmers Market, the one operating in the Caroline Bay entertainment area on Sundays, into the CBD, is a good idea.

So is the change of day, to Saturdays.

Not today mind. All this won't happen until March 30.

Farmers markets generally are a great idea.

There's a back-to-basics philosophy, a chance for growers and customers to chat, an appreciation of local produce. In short, they have soul.

Which is why you would have thought operating in the relaxed atmosphere of the Bay, on a relaxed Sunday, would have worked.

But it hasn't, and the organisers, while not aiming to make a profit, can't afford to make a loss either.

The problem? Most likely population. Specifically, lack of it. And the fact Timaru has two farmers' markets, albeit slightly different in flavour. Why two?

There are also people's habits to break. It's a bit like the crusade against farmed eggs. Almost everyone would rather chickens be allowed to run free, yet most of us still buy the caged-produced eggs. They're cheaper.

Produce at farmers' markets can be mixed in price, some cheaper than at supermarkets, some dearer. Yet most of us still buy stuff at supermarkets that we can get at farmers markets, because, well, we're already at the supermarket buying other stuff.

So we have to be committed to making (another) special trip.

Now, the Bay-based committee wants to make that special trip easier, to be more visible, more accessible. Not all stallholders are happy, but something is obviously required.

Perhaps a meeting of minds between the two markets is the next step.

Another thing: Some stories just make you mad. Like former Accident Compensation Corporation chief Ralph Stewart being given a $100,000 performance bonus.

When he stepped down amidst a privacy scandal.

When numerous ACC claimants say they are treated unfairly, and struggle to survive financially as a result.

When Mr Stewart was already on a salary of almost $400,000.

Does it matter that the $100,000 was written into his contract for meeting other specific targets? Does it matter that he personally wasn't the one to leak the information? Does it matter . . . hang on, stop right there . . . it's far easier to just feel mad.

The Timaru Herald