With many consumers asking where their food is sourced in a quest to buy fresh, sustainably produced goods, the Farmers’ Market movement has been readily accepted in meeting this need.
When the City of Boroondara sought expressions of interest from Rotary in 2003 to manage a Farmers’ Market, the Rotary Club of Glenferrie rose to the challenge.  Under the leadership of now Honorary Member, Geoff Wood, the club established the Boroondara Farmers’ Market held on the third and fifth Saturday morning each month at Patterson Reserve in East Hawthorn.
In its 17 years of operation, the market has contributed to the community in a variety of ways.  The suppliers have a ready market for a huge range of fresh produce straight from the grower, as well as many valued added products such as wine, chocolate and liquorice.
Producers establish great relationships with their customers; patrons enjoy the outdoor environment, meeting friends and stopping for breakfast; and, children are able to socialise in a safe, friendly environment.
The market is a prominent example of Rotary in Boroondara, a great way to introduce the public to Rotary and its projects, and all market proceeds contribute to Glenferrie Rotary projects.

There are on average 60 stalls at each market, all paying a fee. Public attendance is between 1,000 and 1,800, with entry being a gold coin donation.  To date, the Rotary Club of Glenferrie has raised over $1.5 million through the Farmers’ Market. The success of the Boroondara Farmers’ Market has permitted Glenferrie Rotary to support local and international projects, changing the lives of many.
One of the major beneficiaries of the fundraising is the Boroondara Cares Foundation’s CHANCES scholarship program, which identifies talented and motivated young people needing financial support to facilitate their studies and school life.  Since 2007, 1,100 new and renewed scholarships have resulted from this program.  
In 2017 a ‘Think Impact’ study evaluated CHANCES and found that for every dollar invested, between $12.00 and $17.00 were returned in social and economic value.  Just two examples include a young woman who was provided assistance to complete her aerospace engineering studies, and has since been offered a job.  She has now moved to Canberra to conduct projects in space engineering.  And then there was the young man who left school as Dux, completed a Bachelor of Science degree and is now working in Apple Education.
Internationally, market proceeds have contributed to improving the lives of people on the island of Sumba in Indonesia through support of the Sumba Eye Program.  Along with medical equipment, teams consisting of trained ophthalmologists, optometrists and eye nurses travelled to conduct eye health clinics and surgery saving the eye sight of many in this impoverished region of one of our nearest neighbours.  Funds raised by the Rotary Club of Glenferrie also brought two young nurses to Melbourne to train in specialist eye care.  With this knowledge, they continue this vital work in their home country.
Throughout the year, the market is a platform for a number of special community events.  A very successful Victorian Emergency Services Day brought more than 2,000 visitors, many of whom were newcomers, to meet our Police, Ambulance and SES members.  The City of Boroondara also holds its annual Sustainability Expo at the market, introducing market customers from near and far.
Whilst the Boroondara Farmers’ Market is a major commitment for the members, families and friends of Glenferrie Rotary, no matter the weather, the volunteers serve their allocated rosters enthusiastically.  It is hard work, but fun, and it’s a joy to see many returning customers each month.  It has been financially successful, and a great opportunity to promote Rotary in Boroondara.