This time seven years ago Mary Mulvaney and Jenny Edis were working out the logistics of running a farmer’s market in Launceston.
Fast forward to last week and Mrs Mulvaney resigned her position as community board member at Harvest’s August meeting, before setting sail for the mainland.
Moving to Launceston from NSW with her husband Richard in 2011, Mrs Mulvaney met Jenny Edis and together they founded the highly successful market.
She had been a Launceston resident less than a year when she helped create something that has become a Saturday-morning ritual for thousands.
Harvest Launceston was launched on February 12, 2012, in conjunction with Festivale.
Frequent market-goers will remember Mrs Mulvaney, who was often chatting with board members, stallholders or friends.
“It takes hours to get around [the market] while chatting. You can go in any weather and see people you want to chat to,” she said.
It is this market community that has grown from within the Launceston community Mrs Mulvaney will miss the most.
“It’s been a fabulous journey and the best thing about living in Launceston is the friendships I’ve formed [through Harvest],” she said.
“That is the hardest to leave. I’m still really connected to the board.”
One of the reasons behind the success of the farmer’s market has been the combination passionate board members, managers and volunteers, she believes.
“We were always working with the managers and the board really just provided strategic support.”
Apart from the friendships she has formed through Harvest Launceston, Mrs Mulvaney has enjoyed watching the market’s producers develop and innovate their businesses.
“I’ve loved watching the stallholders grow in so many ways with new products and collaborations. It’s been so great to be on the sidelines and see that,” she said.
“It’s a double-sided benefit – the stallholders have that opportunity with their customers to trial new products and do innovative things and with collaboration, it’s really special to see people getting together. It’s exciting to watch.”
Harvest’s ethos was that the Launceston community could shop on Saturday morning and buy all the ingredients needed for dinner that night – most of which are produced in Tasmania.
“I love the produce. Tasmania has an incredible range of produce,” Mrs Mulvaney said.
“Tasmania has a strong reputation [for its produce], but Harvest is demonstrating it on a weekly basis.
“I’m very proud we’ve maintained our integrity as a farmer’s market. It’s about keeping it intrinsically Tasmanian and keeping to the Australian Farmers Markets Association guidelines,” she said.
Harvest Launceston has won a slew of awards over the past six years, becoming not only a place for the Launceston community to pick up fresh produce weekly, but a must-see destination for visitors as well.
“I like to think Harvest has contributed to building Tasmania’s reputation for fine produce. It has become a tourist mecca.”
“National and international chefs who come to the market rave about the food.
“I love hearing from new people who move [to Launceston] and already know about Harvest,” she said.
With Mrs Mulvaney’s departure, both founders have now left the Harvest board.
Ms Edis resigned from Harvest and moved to Melbourne late last year.
“Some people on the board are still there from the beginning. Other people have come in and stepped in, like Kim Hewitt who is on the board and is a manager. She has such a strong knowledge of operations and strategic opportunities.
“We’re leaving Harvest in really good hands. It’s run by a great team,” Mrs Mulvaney said.
Harvest Launceston president Simon McInerney said Mary Mulvaney and Jenny Edis met at exactly the right time.
“Mary’s collaboration with Jenny was the perfect storm,” he said.
“It was perfect timing that she came to Launceston and met Jenny Edis. Those fresh eyes can see things in a completely new way.”
Mrs Mulvaney is someone who adds “refinement and nuance” to ideas.
“Mary was the person who really refined and narrowed down a good idea so it became a fantastic idea,” Mr McInerney said.
After successful partnerships with TasTAFE on the Great Chefs series and Sprout Tasmania, the Harvest board has been inspired to move to a new level of strategic operation while continuing to run a good farmer’s market.
“We have a team of people full of ideas. Simon [McInerney] has been doing a good job with new ideas and things to think about,” Mrs Mulvaney said.
A passionate community member who adopted Launceston as much as it adopted her, Mrs Mulvaney’s legacy will be one of dedicated service.
“Mary was the central figure between the board, committee and the market managers and played a vital role in manager recruitment,” Mr McInerney said.
“There are so many formats for a committee, but they are not always done well. She does it incredibly well.”
For seven years Mrs Mulvaney volunteered her time and expertise to Harvest Launceston for no financial reward.
“It’s not just about Harvest, but in any organisation, when you see people giving service like that it suggests the organisation is doing something well,” he said.
The Mulvaneys packed up their Launceston home and rented it out, heading across the Bass Strait to NSW for a month and Canada for three months to see their children and grandchildren.
“Then we’ll come back to Launceston and our plan is to go around Australia for a year.”
“I do enjoy camping, but maybe not for a year,” she said.
However, Mrs Mulvaney is also keen to discover what changes at the market while she is gone.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing what has changed and what hasn’t,” she said.
“I have loved it. It’s been a fabulous journey.”
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