After a successful launch in 2020, Aussie Artisan Week (August 16–23) returns to continue its support of local artisans and producers. Aussie Artisan Week founders Pierre Issa and Melissa Altman of Pepe Saya Buttery Co have joined forces with artisans from across the country to encourage all Australians to consciously choose to support, champion and purchase locally made products, buying direct from artisans where they can.
Expanding on its efforts in 2020, which saw a passionate community form, and introduced Australian consumers to a range of artisans and quality products, this year Aussie Artisan Week aims to help define what being an artisan means, elevating these hard-working producers as essential parts of our community.
An artisan is defined as someone who does skilled work with their hands, but Aussie Artisan Week aims to celebrate how integral they are to our community and Australian culture. When you buy from local artisans, you are supporting farmers and small businesses, and you are helping to build community. This sense of community has become increasingly important as artisans – and everyday Australians – continue to grapple with the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
Aussie Artisan Week calls for Australians to support artisans of all kinds, whether they’re growers, cheesemongers, bakers, wine producers, expert picklers, or even ceramicists, and the call to action is simple:
● Visit your local farmers’ market
● Shop on your local high street
● Buy online direct from artisans where you can
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many local businesses, including Pepe Saya Butter Co, have had to transform their operations after both on-premise and direct-to-consumer sales dropped dramatically with the forced closure of restaurants and growers’ markets, and restrictive stay-at-home orders.
Butter maker and co-founder of Aussie Artisan Week, Pierre Issa, says: “The past 17 months have shown the importance and value of community, and our community has kept us afloat. Not only our customers, but also all of the incredible hard working producers who we work with, or alongside whom we sell our products at farmers’ markets and local stores. From John Fairley at Country Valley Dairy who we buy our cream from to Alex Olsson of Olsson’s Salt, and the many producers we’ve collaborated with on our packs and products on our online store – the collaboration and respect in this community is one of a kind. To be completely frank, we wouldn’t be here without them”.
The success of last year’s Aussie Artisan Week demonstrated that a passion for locally made products exists and the founders hope that as the week continues to grow, so too does the awareness and support for artisans throughout the year.
“We’ve realised that Australians really do value Australian-made, and so we want to help people discover more local alternatives as they do their weekly shopping,” says Pepe Saya Butter Co Director and co-founder Melissa Altman. “We could all do with the reminder to stop a minute before we ‘add to cart’ and think about what we’re buying, where it comes from and who we’re supporting when we buy it. Too often people don’t realise the buying power they have, and some simple changes in the weekly grocery shop can make the world of difference to an artisan and to our economy – particularly now when it’s essential for survival for some of our local artisans. There’s also a real need to preserve some of these old-world artisan techniques before they are lost. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever.”
This year, Aussie Artisan Week founders have enlisted other Australian artisans to help them spread the message of Aussie Artisan Week, who are available for comment on request, including:
NSW: Pepe Saya Butter Co, Crumpets by Merna, Country Valley Dairy, Mapo Gelato, LouiseM Ceramics, Pecora Dairy, Zokoko Chocolate
VIC: Yarra Valley Caviar, Chateau Acid
ACT: Ainslie Urban Farm, The Apple Shed
TAS: Grandvewe Cheeses, Bruny Island Cheese, Meru Miso
SA: Olsson’s Salt, Nice Pickles
QLD: Sobah Beverages
WA: The Mushroom Guys
NT: The Bakery Alice Springs
Aussie Artisan Week runs from August 16–23. In the lead-up to the week, Aussie Artisan Week will be sharing the stories of other artisans on its Instagram (@AussieArtisanWeek) and encourages all Australian artisans and supporters of artisans to get involved by sharing their artisan-made products and purchases, tagging @AussieArtisanWeek and using the hashtag #AussieArtisanWeek. Aussie Artisan Week will continue to update its website to be used as a discovery platform to find brands getting involved, and local farmers markets to visit around the country at: https://www.aussieartisanweek.com.au/