Harvest Trails and Markets exists to keep farmers in the Sydney basin farming. As a not-for-profit community incorporated organisation, HTM helps connect producers directly with consumers to give growers an alternative distribution channel to the central market.
Harvest Trails and Markets began as Hawkesbury Harvest in 2000 by a small group of passionate people from a diverse range of backgrounds. As different as they were, they were united by a love of the Hawkesbury region and its agricultural heritage. Hawkesbury Harvest was a way to promote healthy diets, to spread the word about the abundance of locally produced food, the seasonal beauty of the area and the importance of keeping agriculture – particularly food production – in the Sydney Basin.
Since then the organisation has grown beyond the boundaries of the Hawkesbury and incorporates most of Sydney Basin. HTM coordinates six separate Farm Gate Trails that assist tourists, epicures and regional explorers to find the food that is on their doorstep. In addition to the website, HTM has developed and supports “The Farm Gate” smartphone app to disseminate this information. HTM has piloted and supported many farmers markets over the years and currently operates the Castle Hill Farmers and Fine Food Market. It has a close relationship with ABC702 who broadcast ‘what’s fresh on the Farm Gate Trail’ each Saturday morning. HTM is also presently looking at ways the organisation can evolve to continue to meet the needs of our members in an increasingly challenging environment for agricultural enterprises, partly through active representation and advocacy in statutory and advisory bodies.
Harvest Trails and Markets is happy to play a role supporting agriculture in the Sydney basin. Recent estimates show that Sydney’s total agriculture is worth $749million to the NSW economy even before the multiplier effect is taken into account1. The 2210 farms around Sydney employ over 7000 people. In 2011, the Sydney basin produced 20% of the city of Sydney’s total food supply. Keeping food production in the Sydney basin has numerous environmental benefits and community health benefits. It improves the food resilience of the city and creates opportunities for producers and consumers alike. HTM believes it is important to protect the productive agricultural land around Sydney and the knowledge of the people who farm it. We are committed to seeing it flourish.
1. Agriculture and Fisheries in the Greater Sydney region of New South Wales, 2013 ABARES p3-4