The Isle of Man Farmers Market has become an official community partner of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man.

The Farmers Market, which was established in 2007, promotes the selling of local produce through five markets held at different locations across the island.

A spokesperson from the Isle of Man Farmers Market said: ‘We are an affiliation of people who wish to promote the growing, making and selling of Manx food and products.

‘The island has a rich history of markets through which farmers and producers have traditionally sold their own products. These markets were not only an essential source of food for the local community, but also a vital focus point for meeting and socialising.

‘The Isle of Man Farmers Market has worked hard over the last 17 years to revive this tradition and hold four regular markets at locations around the island.

‘Buying locally helps to sustain the Manx economy, community and encourages diversification. It also helps to reduce “food miles” and “carbon footprints”, which have an increasingly detrimental effect on our environment.

‘Equally important, these markets allow access to the freshest products with exceptional levels of traceability and the opportunity to meet the people who have produced them.’

Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Minister Clare Barber, who is also vice-chair of UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man, presented the partnership certificate to members of the Farmers Market in St John’s.

Talking about the partnership, Mrs Barber said: ‘I am thrilled that the Isle of Man Farmers Market have partnered with UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man. The hard work and dedication that comes with being a local food producer, and with connecting the people of the island to the produce that is available all year round is admirable and vital.

‘I am sure that the markets will long continue as they have for so many years, thanks to the passion and drive of local producers, particularly Sheila Gawne, who has been instrumental in the set up and running of the markets each week for the past 17 years.’

Back in January 2021, during the island-wide lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the farmers markets were one of the only ventures in the island to continue, with committee member Sheila Gawne saying this was done so that ‘people don’t have to go and queue at supermarkets’.

Talking about the markets at the time, Sheila said: ‘We also take produce to the people so people don’t have to travel. That was the whole ethos of the farmers’ markets, reducing the carbon footprint.

‘We’ve also had plenty of footfall at all the markets, both new people and regulars.’

The farmers markets contain a wide variety of produce from all across the island.

Back in 2021, when Media Isle of Man visited the markets, Sheila’s stall was laid out with an array of fresh vegetables, cakes, loaves and her renowned steak pies. She also had duck eggs from Helen Masson in Ronague, which she recommended for home baking.

Dot Price, owner of ‘Purely Plants from The Dhoor’, had a stall which was filled with fresh vegetables, hens’ eggs, duck eggs and homemade items including chicken liver pate and mushroom pate made with Manx cream and butter, lemon curd, jams and marmalade.

You can find the farmers’ markets every Thursday in St John’s Church Hall 11am to 3pm; every Saturday in Ramsey Courthouse 10am to 4pm; on the first and third Friday in the month in Village Walk Precinct, Onchan, 11am to 4pm; every third Sunday in the month at Colby Football Club between 11am and 2pm and the second Saturday of each month between April and November in Douglas Regent Street.