In a city known for its market culture, Malak Marketplace stands out from the crowd with its emphasis on local organic produce, healthy tropical cuisine and connecting communities in a beautiful, artistic space.
It’s not difficult to see why this creative endeavour recently took home The City of Darwin 2017 Community Event of the Year. In just one year of operation Malak Marketplace has managed to activate a seriously suburban car park in the northern suburbs into a weekly twilight hive of food, music, arts, education and diverse cultures.
Founder Lina Paselli says the success of the market was instant and a matter of the right time, place and people. After buying a house in Malak four years ago, she joined Darwin Community Arts as a board member and found out there had been electrical infrastructure put in for a market five years ago, but no one had furthered the idea.
Paselli went ahead and dreamed about having an organic market in her own neighborhood and a team of fellow enthusiasts quickly formed around her.
“It was a time in my life when I was trying to quit sugar and buy organic, but I’d felt a bit lost as to how I was going to do that,” she said, “so we definitely went for a local organic farmers market right from the start, it had to be different to all the others.”
From day one the market took off, spurning the creation of 12 new businesses and a local organic economy right on site. Paselli says the heart of the market is the farmers.
“All the food stalls buy from the farmers and their produce is in the menus – which is why the menus are always changing. It depends on what is growing and what there’s an abundance of.”
A certain attention to detail is another unique feature of the weekly market. Chilled live music, Japanese theming – including red lanterns – and a central piazza style meet, eat and chat area, all make an aesthetic impression when you arrive.
Paselli says the vibe that’s been created is really something special.
“We’ve managed to bring together an amazing group of like-minded people and I think our market goers really pick up on that when they go there.”