Slow Food Hero: in an Old Farmers’ Market, a community resists Covid-19

14 Oct 2021

Petra Molnárova is the soul of Trh Piact Mark in Bratislava. And she didn’t give up even in the face of the pandemic. The market had been reborn and had to keep on living.

 width=I’m Petra Molnárova and I’ve turned my passion into a job. I’ve always been passionate about local production and biodiversity and, thanks to freelance projects, I work full-time on them. Among these there is the Old Covered Market in the historic center of Bratislava. 

 width=Closed until 2013, thanks to the work of Aliancia Stara Trznica, founded by a group of young people from Bratislava, we revived this space, first with a monthly edition and, since 2015, weekly, every Saturday. The Market is a living space: in addition to local farmers and artisans (as well as growers of flowers, natural cosmetics and…even products for dogs!) – all selected according to the principles of Slow Food – we organize tastings, workshops for children, events, conferences, food festivals, classical music concerts,  


Then, a bolt from the blue. The pandemic completely turned our lives upside down and, for the first time in many years, the market had to close its doors without a time frame. This was a serious situation especially for the local farmers who right at the beginning of spring were starting to stock up on the first vegetables of the season and who often had the market as their only point of sale. It was immediately clear to us that we would have to invent something and create a connection between the farmers and the customers. 

 width=We got on the phone and in just two weeks we prepared a basket of offers together with the farmers: eggs, bread, cold cuts, vegetables and much more. We activated a section on the association’s website, prepared an order form that began to vary every week, depending on the offer and – thanks to a great immediate interest – the offer of the week was always sold out within a few hours. 

We organized the deliveries. Every Friday the farmers and producers supplied the Covered Market and our group prepared the bags for the customers according to their orders. Then we distributed them in various neighborhoods of the city (with our own vehicles, made available for this initiative). We did all this without compensation and in the full spirit of solidarity for our vendors. Our greatest satisfaction? Seeing them happy and content.

 width=Not only that. The Market hosted an Armed Forces Field Shelter for the homeless affected by the pandemic and we helped the City prepare food packages for the city’s seniors as well. 

Since June 2020, we have reopened our Farmers’ Market and from there we were able to fight back and continue every Saturday until now. For now, we can only sell, without the tastings, without all the various little activities which makes our market exceptional. And though we are very grateful to be able to carry on even in a limited capacity, it continues to be a very difficult time both for us and for our farmers, producers and small importers.

Despite all of this, our team has become stronger and has learned to adapt. We feel that we belong to a strong community that has evolved around the Mercato Coperto over the years, thanks to our continuous motivation and adaptive approach. And we are happy and grateful about that.

Slow Food Heroes is a project financed by European Cultural Foundation, with the contribution of CRC Foundation.

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