The Vintners Company – Vintners Hall

2011 - Sarah Robins

Winner of the 2011 Geoffrey Roberts Award was Sarah Robins of Sydney, Australia. In November 2011 she used her award to travel to the United States to research programs that assist low-income earners to access the farmers’ markets that proliferate there. (Our second-ever winner, Jane Adams, used her award to introduce the farmers’ market concept to Australia where there are now hundreds of them.) Sarah visited numerous farmers’ markets in Washington DC, Charlottesville VA, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and nearby Oakland, meeting with market organisers, not-for-profit community organisations, health agencies, government representatives, academics and food producers.

Sarah reports that she gathered a wealth of information and an understanding of the commonalities – and differences – between the programs in various states. She noted significant differences between America and Australia, most pertinently the frequency of farmers’ markets, availability of funding and philanthropy, in addition to the wider emphasis on healthy eating that permeates the farmers’ market sector in the United States. She is currently writing a full report about her travels and suggestions for how such initiatives might be approached in Australia and looks forward to applying her knowledge to the local context.

We hope that her recommendations might have an ever wider geographical application.