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Rural retailers descend on Sydney for Christmas market

Retailers from rural communities, many of which have been devastated by drought and bushfire, have set up shop in Sydney’s Martin Place this Thursday, December 12, to showcase their wares to Sydney shoppers.

Twenty regional businesses will offer their artisan products, ranging from homemade condiments to handcrafted stationery items and artwork.

The businesses have come together through Buy From the Bush, a social movement founded by Grace Brennan, that connects retailers in isolated communities with city shoppers and consumers around Australia.

Brennan, who resides in Warren in western NSW, launched the Buy From the Bush Instagram and Facebook pages in October 2019 after hearing about rural businesses impacted by drought – and, more recently, bushfire – struggling to stay afloat.

Her account has since amassed over 139,000 followers on Instagram, with the hashtag #buyfromthebush gaining traction across the picture sharing platform.

Buy From the Bush campaign

“Having grown up in Sydney, I was really aware of how much people in the city want to show their support if given a chance,” Brennan said. “It gives city people a simple way to help rural people in need and people are enjoying exploring the beautiful things on offer in the bush.”

Brennan said the support from people right around Australia and particularly the city, has been overwhelming.

“It’s times like this that really highlights what Australians are made of. We rally and we help each other out during tough times,” Brennan said.

“Martin Place is about as far as you can get from the dusty paddocks of these business’ back yards so it’s an exciting idea. It’s great to give Sydney shoppers a chance to buy a gift made in the bush.”

The pop-up market will run from 8am to 8pm on Thursday, December 12.

David Jones, supermarkets raise funds

Other retailers have also stepped up to the plate to support rural communities impacted by drought and bushfire.

David Jones this week announced it had donated $100,000 to the Red Cross bushfire appeal. From next week, customers can also make donations at any register at David Jones stores nationally.

Coles in October donated $1 million to the Country Women’s Association (CWA) to fund grants for farming families to cover household expenses, and since then, it has been facilitating donations from customers at supermarket and liquor store checkouts.

Woolworths Group in September launched S.T.A.N.D. (Support Through Australian Natural Disasters) Drought Action Appeal in partnership with The Salvation Army, Rural Aid, Foodbank and Lifeline, and also has been facilitating donations at checkouts.

And IGA this month launched a national Christmas Drought Appeal in partnership with Drought Angels and Vinnies.

A version of this story first appeared on sister site, Inside FMCG.

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