10 August 2016: learning from NYC markets

I was just reminded about the US Project for Public Spaces (PPS) by a blog on their markets’ training which champions public markets’ huge range of benefits, showing how they help tackle issues facing urban and rural neighborhoods by strengthening local identity, creating  healthy and accessible places that act as food hubs, and  boosting local economies. The blog features markets in New York City and has some great photographs and info. This ranges from the wholesale Chelsea Market, to the outdoor, seasonal Hester Street Fair, to plans for redevelopment of the Essex Street Market.

Links to other areas of the PPS website are a feature  for those interested to know more.

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26 May 2015 – Boston’s new ‘all local’ public market

Boston is to open a new public market this summer selling only local produce – the first in the US. In a recent article on Civil Eats, Sarah Shemkus says: “The Boston Public Market will be home to about 40 vendors, who will sell fruits and vegetables, fish and meat, and honey—all grown, caught or produced in New England.”

There are doubts however, and as the market nears completion she goes on to comment that “questions remain about its pioneering local-only mandate. Will the farms of highly seasonal New England have anything to sell in winter? Will consumers find the selection too limited?
The article also quotes Rachel Greenberger, director of food entrepreneurship program Food Sol at Babson College, Massachussets,  who says that ‘local’ continues to be one of the most commercially appealing words in the food business, but also acknowledges that this is a radical idea that requires consumer education, measures to ensure it doesn’t just become a tourist destination and that keep it accessible to those on low incomes.
Rachel Greenberger argues the market is seen as an important part of building local food infrastructure, and adds “shopping in a public market is a value statement. People go because they like what it says about them and about the community.”
This is a big project and it will be interesting to see how it fares.
You can read more here

2 May 2015 – The Final Mile: Food systems of New York

The Final Mile: Food Systems of New York is a new initiative by OpenHouse and is a year-long series of public programs,  intended to shed light on New York City’s dynamic and multi-layered food economy. The series of tours and events aim to help New Yorkers  better understand how food shapes the city in critical ways that all too often go unnoticed.

There is a good introduction on the blog which talks about how  ‘every plate of food that we eat represents a vast network of interconnected spaces, large and small, that facilitated the flow and preparation of the ingredients of that meal‘. It provides some staggering statistics about the city, including 24,000 restaurants, 5,500 supermarkets, groceries and convenience stores; 1,730 food wholesalers and 120 farmers’ markets.

The city’s largest produce market (Hunts Point) handles 210 million packages of fresh fruit and vegetables each year and the fish market (New Fulton) sells millions of seafood daily and annual sales exceed one billion dollars.

Why the Final Mile? This is what the blog says:

The final mile is a phrase borrowed from the telecommunications industry to describe the challenges of distributing goods and services—in this case, food—from a central hub to multiple end-users. It is commonly understood as the most problematic and expensive leg of any supply chain; whether literal or metaphorical, the last “mile” is the most difficult because it is where the system makes its final transition from the large scale to the finely grained. The average journey for food sold in New York City is 1,500 miles, because it is actually easier to ship ten tons of produce around the world than it is to get a banana from the warehouse to the bodega shelf.

You can read more about it here


22 April 2015 – Markets under threat

There is a good piece (from PPS) about traditional markets throughout the world that are under threat from issues such as  physical neglect, war, poor management, competition from international chain stores, and real estate pressures on the Sustainable Cities Collective website.

You can read the article and see the images here


21 April 2015 – Sign up to support the Declaration for Markets

You can read about – and sign – the 9th International Public Markets Conference Declaration on the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) website. This sums up some of the collective outputs from the Conference, attended by 425 participants—representing 45 countries and 119 cities – and is designed to highlight the value of public (traditional) markets, their crucial importance for linking urban and rural communities,  and the need for increased funding and policy recognition at all levels.

Worth signing up to!