Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack
Podcast Number 129 – Community Markets in Australia
(This podcast is 10 minutes and 34 seconds long)
Community markets are found in most countries around the world and Australia is no exception. A community market is a place where people can sell, for a short period only, a range of handmade products, new and secondhand merchandise, along with locally produced foods, fruits and vegetables and takeaway food. It is usually located in a public place such as a park or a local school or a shopping centre carpark. Community markets in Australia typically operate on the weekend and last normally for around half a day. In this podcast, I would like to tell you a little about these community markets in Australia.
I enjoy walking through a community market on a Saturday or Sunday morning. It always has such a different feel compared to walking through a town shopping area or through a shopping centre. You see local people selling things which they have made or created, so in a sense they are telling you something about themselves and their lifestyle as they stand or sit in their stall with their offering spread out before them. The overall feel of a community market is of things that are not mass-produced. These products are made with a certain amount of love and care. In buying these products, you are sharing a little of the lifestyle of the seller. Examples of typical food products for sale in a community market include homemade jams and sauces, honey from local beehives, organically grown fruit and vegetables and locally made cakes which are always a favourite for me. Other types of merchandise include:
- locally made personal care products such as soaps and creams,
- uniquely shaped and scented candles in many colours,
- locally made woollen or cotton garments such as dresses, pullovers, beanies, skirts, scarves and tops,
- clothing which has been tie-dyed such as dresses and t-shirts,
- shoes and sandals made from leather and canvass,
- carry bags made from woven wool and other materials,
- hand-crafted leather products such as belts, purses, bags and wallets,
- plants and seeds,
- bonsai trees,
- art works being sold by the artists, such as paintings and sculptures.
The list goes on and on.
I guess the key thing about nearly all of the things being sold is that they are not normally found in a shop or department store. They have something special about them, usually because they were made by a local person using skills that involve the hands and usually the heart. By that, I mean that the products are made not just to be sold, but also because they come from the creative skills and passions of the maker.
Of course it is not only new or fresh products, there are also some stalls which are selling secondhand things which have outlived their usefulness, but which other people might find still useful. There is a saying in English – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This means that those things which I no longer want or need, may well be something which someone else may want and need. Classical examples include second hand books and magazines, old vinyl records, videos and cassettes, clothes, tools and crockery, just to name a few. People selling these types of objects are usually quite open to someone making an offer. The value of these objects is often quite variable. It depends on the view of the person buying. Let’s face it, most people might look at these sorts of things and call them junk, fit only for the rubbish bin. But some people will see value in them and make an offer. When this happens, the buyer is trying to bargain or negotiate for a better price. In this situation, it is often useful to ask the question – are you open to offers? If they say yes, then you know you will be able to get a bargain. Getting a bargain is something many people really enjoy in a community market.
Another feature of community markets is the availability of food and drink to be eaten on the spot. At every market, at least in Victoria, there will be a stall selling coffee. We love our espresso coffee here in Victoria (see Podcast 53). Along with a coffee, you can usually buy something sweet to go with it, such as a pastry, cake or doughnut. Other types of fast food on sale will often include hamburgers, hot dogs, barbequed sausages, fresh fruit juice, hot meals such as curry dishes, vegetarian meals and other goodies. Of course, there is usually always a stall selling ice-cream – very hard for me to resist!
Children’s activities are also usually available, including face painting, sweets or lollies stalls, toy stalls and sometimes real baby farm animals to pat. I can only imagine how much fun it must be for young children to attend a market, with all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that are all around them.
Community markets also raise money for local projects and charitable causes. For example, there are community markets which raise money for local schools and those which are run by community service clubs such as Rotary, which donates to, and supports, many good causes in the Australian community. Volunteers do all the hard work of organizing and managing the community markets to make sure they run well and safely. There is nothing better on a weekend than to visit a local community market.
If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Or, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Tell me where you live, a little bit about yourself and what you think of my Slow English podcast. I will write back to you, in English of course. If you would like to take a short quiz to see if you have understood this podcast, you will also find it on my website. Goodbye until next time.
Podcast 129 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?
You can take the quiz as many times as you like.
attend = go to
bargain = (here) when you have bought something cheaper than normal
beanies = a soft covering for your head, usually made from colourful wool
bonsai = a special way to grow trees so that they stay very small
canvass = a type of strong woven material used in bags, yacht sails, etc
charitable causes = groups or organisations who help others in need
community service clubs = clubs which help others in their community
compared = when you decide if something is better, worse or just different to something else
crockery = plates, cups, saucers, dishes
curry = a type of meal, which comes from Indian cooking
department store = a very large shop where you can buy a range of things
donates = to give to those in need
espresso coffee = coffee made in a special way from coffee beans
exception = when someone or something is different from normal
feature = a characteristic
feel = (here) how something affects you e.g. happy, sad, etc
garments = clothes
goodies = things which we think are good
hand-crafted = made by hand (not by machines or in factories)
in a sense = from one perspective
involve = (here) are a part of, including
jams = something sweet which is spread on bread e.g. strawberry jam
junk = rubbish, trash
lifestyle = how you live
located = found
lollies = sweets
magazines = soft cover reading materials about a particular topic e.g. sports magazines
massed-produced = made in a factory
materials = what things are made of
merchandise = things offered for sale
offer = (here) a suggestion that you will pay a lower price
offering = the things which are being offered for sale
on the spot = immediately, in the same place
operate = (here) run, work, go
organically = grown without using chemicals
passions = when you really love something
pastry = a type of sweet
pat = to tap or stroke gently
period = a length of time e.g. 4 hours
personal care products = things used on your body to smell nice, stay clean or look nice
products = the things sold in shops and businesses (and markets)
purses = a small bag used by women to carry their money and ID cards
raise = (here) to collect money from other people for a charity
range = a number of different things in a group
resist = to stop, to fight against
sandals = shoes which are open
scented = smells nice
sculptures = shaped which are carved by an artist (a sculptor)
secondhand = not new, used by someone else before you
stall = a small area where things are shown for sale
tie-dyed = when something is coloured using a process of tying then dyeing the material
to bargain = (here) when you offer a lower price in order to buy something cheaper
trash = rubbish, junk
treasure = something that people value and want
typically = normally
uniquely = when something is like nothing else
variable = not constant, can change
vegetarian = with no meat
vinyl records = black circular objects used to play music
wallets = a small bag used by men to carry their money and ID cards
woven = a way of making a material, where threads are wound together