SUPPORTERS of East Oxford Farmers Market can now have a say on how it is run after it became a co-operative.

For £5 shoppers can become a member of the market, held every Saturday at East Oxford Primary School, Union Street.

They will be able to attend meetings and majority votes will decide how the market is run.

Examples of market rules include a demand that only producers based within 30 miles of Oxford can sell there.

East Oxford Farmers’ and Community Market Ltd was founded in 2006 to provide healthy and ecologically-sourced food.

It welcomes more than 700 visitors every Saturday from 10am to 1pm to enjoy vegetables, meat, cheese, freshly-baked bread and more.

The market is run by volunteers, most of whom have other jobs.

Booking co-ordinator Helen Hewlett said: “Like any organisation which matures and comes of age, it felt like the right time for the market to become an organisation in its own right.

“It means we’re not just a bunch of folk. The market is an entity in its own right.

“Now customers, if they live in East Oxford, can have a say in how their market is run.”

The current organising committee was helped by the Plunkett Foundation for community groups to find the right sort of structure.

The group will be not-for-profit, and all members must be given a vote at annual meetings. It will cost £5 to join with a further £5 each year.

In 2011 the market was a runner-up in Radio Four’s Food and Farming Awards.

On Saturday the market was due to launch its new status with a special, extended market until 2pm featuring live music and 30 stalls.

Oxford City Council Green Party councillor for Iffley Fields David Williams praised the market.

He said: “This is very good news. I have been a great supporter of co-operatives, and I think this will bring everyone involved in the market together and make them stronger.

“Over the last 20 years more and more chemicals have been added to our food so anything produced naturally and locally is going to be popular.”

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