By Slow Food Melbourne
And this good thing started at the Westsider’s 2019 end-of-year drinks when Derek, the man at the heart and helm of this community paper put a tinnie in the hand of the Slow Food Melbourne Secretary and said, “You need to talk to Andy Moutray-Read”, and introduced them. People used to shake hands back then.
They talked about finding a venue for a new farmers’ market. Andy listened and nodded as a godfather used to fixing problems in his community and made some suggestions. They parted, the Secretary richer with some names and numbers in his pocket/phone.
Months went by but he didn’t follow up. He kept reminding himself to make the call. Classic inertia. Until he saw Derek again. Still with the same problem of needing the right venue for a farmers’ market. Again, Derek said, “You need to talk to Andy Moutray-Read.” Finally, he called Andy. And Andy had a plan. “Why don’t we meet at Happy Receptions?”
It was drizzling when the SFM team pulled into the parking lot of father and son, Frank and David Cheng, owners and operators of the iconic Happy Receptions. Now, one only needs to read some of the online reviews to get a feel for how many great stories are created and celebrated at Happy Receptions. But the two people the SFM team met that day have stories that lighten the heart of any listener. Stories of a young couple with a toddler escaping Vietnam, surviving mountains of waves in a small overfilled boat, clinging to hopes and dreams of raising a family in Australia, then being kept in detention for many uncertain nights. Of a father, trained in plastic production, landing in Melbourne and needing to find a way to feed, house and grow a family.
How did Frank do it? He cooked. Day in and day out. Serving the needs of his family and community. Until it was time to build a place where people came to celebrate and confirm their love and achievements. A place that would become the new home of the Slow WeFo Market.
Then the world went into lockdown. But as we know, Mother Nature needs to find a place to feed and nourish us. Like a chestnut root searching for a fertile home. A ‘food/farmer’s market’ is that place.
With the approval and support of the City of Maribyrnong, the Slow WeFo Market will be a place for small scale Victorian farmers and artisanal producers to share their wares with the WeFo community. All the producers adhere to the Good, Clean and Fair Food principles of Slow Food. With up to 40 genuine stallholders (no resellers permitted), including bread, cheese, vegetables, fruit, nuts, berries, meat, poultry, ferments and much more, the market is part of a resilient local food system. In these uncertain times, it has become clear that our local farmers are our superheroes.
Growing food to share directly with the community will always be an essential service. Now more than ever.
The date when the market will sprout its winter roots for what is set to become something all Westies can be proud of will be announced shortly.
See you at the first Slow WeFo Market at the iconic and celebrated Happy Receptions at 199 Sunshine Rd.