Reflections on the Flinders Market for 2023 and cost of living suggestions for the break

The Flinders Market wraps up for 2023 with record attendance. This vital service for students provides free and low-cost food to thousands of students each year as well as fostering a sense of community and connection on campus. Details on where to continue to access affordable food during the break is provided.

Last Thursday (16th November) was the final Flinders Market for 2023. If you don’t know about the market, read this. In short, it is a community market for all students, where you can access free and low-cost food. It is run by Oasis.

The market coordinator Jacob sent an email to Oasis staff and volunteers providing some observations about the year. I wanted to share a few of them because they speak to the importance of the market for students at a time when cost of living pressures are growing.

Over the course of 2023, the market helped feed [at least] 5,981 mouths. There was an average of 160 people at each Market, with the most recorded being 223 on May the 4th. Even the final market, which usually has low attendance because of the time of the year and low student numbers on campus, had 133 people go through.

These numbers are a significant increase on previous years, where numbers of students at the market tended to average in the 80’s and 90’s. Why the increase? We reckon the increased numbers can be attributed to many factors, including more people around with the relative relaxation of COVID-restrictions, the ever-growing high costs of living and price of food in supermarkets, ease of accessibility on campus (convenience), but also hopefully some successful promotion and raising awareness across Flinders University.

We suspect (and hope) that students are starting to feel more comfortable accessing the market, as we have tried to raise awareness that the market is for everyone, and not only for food relief. We hope any stigma relating to accessing the market is starting to decrease. Market day (Thursdays) is also becoming an opportunity for students to connect with other students, volunteers and Oasis staff at the Oasis centre. Free/cheap food + social connection is a great combo.

The Market is having a break over the summer break (to give volunteers a well-deserved rest!) and will resume late Feb 2024. However, the costs of living do not disappear over that time, so Oasis have put together a list of some accessible food relief alternatives while the Flinders Community Market is closed over the summer (see below). Shout outs to Aakaash Chiramal (volunteer) and Stacy White (FUSA) who helped substantially in providing information for this. A pdf copy is available also.

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