I have just returned from a weekend in my home town of Girgarre full of wonder at what has been accomplished in a very small community over 8 years of hard work, dedication and a whole lot of passion.

This once decaying community is a happening place.  At most jobs I do someone has heard of Girgarre which is quite something considering it has a population of 185 and is some 190 kilometres from Melbourne.

One of the reasons for the regeneration of this community is their farmers market; today it had over 150 stalls of produce, craft and country goodness all on sale to the few thousand people who visited Girgarre for the Christmas Market.

Many communities look at Girgarre now and think “how did they do that?” and want to replicate the success of this fabulous little town – but if they want to do what this town has done, they will need to start small and let it grow.

The first market had 10 stalls, 100 visitors and a community group who were prepared to see where the market could go.  They committed to three markets after which they would work out whether they should continue, and then agreed they should.

Bit by bit the market has grown and at the same time so has the spirit in the community.  They have set small, medium and long term goals and put the strategies in place to achieve them.  What to outsiders looks like a quick ascent into a successful community event has in fact been a long and steady piece of work, with the community happy to let it grow.

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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.