How are communities within the Slow Food network spreading the Earth Market program all over the world? How does an Earth Market differ from other public markets?
Earth Markets are a special type of farmers’ market created and run by local communities of the Slow Food network, according to the principles of good, clean and fair. Only local and seasonal products are sold, directly by producers, who ensure that they sell their products at fair prices, both for those who buy them and those who produce them. An Earth Market is not simply a place where food is bought and sold; it is a project built according to a multidisciplinary approach to food, one that provides a source of nourishment while promoting and protecting cultural identity, history, and traditions in a space of meaningful exchange.
With nearly 70 Earth Markets operating around the world, each serve as an integral part of local communities in building alternative food systems. Unlike large distribution chains that create distance between consumers and the products they buy, Earth Markets focus on small-scale and artisanal production, giving consumers an opportunity to develop a closer relationship to the food they eat. This international network of markets forms an important constellation of community gathering points were people can meet, exchange, and eat together, sharing valuable knowledge and experience.
Educational activities, especially those related to taste education, are also a key feature of Earth Markets, where good taste and social and environmental responsibility are connected. Some markets work with schools to provide extra-curricular activities, while others organize tastings led by producers, or culinary events led by professionals and enthusiasts: from chefs to grandmothers – purveyors of our food cultures, both old and new.
New Earth Markets are being built all over the world, gathering activists in Slow Food Communities, to bring together adults, children, cooks, and producers and change the way we make choices about our food.
The following are three examples of Earth Markets that exemplify the principles of good, clean and fair food, pillars of the communities they belong to. They are an invitation: to better relationships with food and stronger communities, in every corner of the world.
Slow Food Earth Market in Bouctouche (CANADA)
Bouctouche is the largest town in Kent County, New Brunswick, with 2,361 inhabitants. It is a modern town with a rich tradition and history influenced by its Acadian heritage as well as the presence of First Nations and Anglophone cultures. The Slow Food Earth Market takes place at the Bouctouche Farmers’ Market (BFM), located in the heart of downtown, facing the beautiful Bouctouche Bay.
Originally opened in 1999, The Bouctouche Farmers’ Market was destroyed by a fire in 2015 and then renovated thanks to the involvement of the municipality, citizens, associations, and producers. In 2018, Bouctouche inaugurated a completely revitalised market, now hosting a 9,300 square-foot space that, in addition to serving fresh and high-quality products and providing a meeting place for members of the community, creates connections between visitors and producers. The project addresses sustainability goals related to waste management and recycling and consumer education. The location is well equipped with a commercial kitchen, a local food boutique, and a flexible Slow Food Education Space.
The Bouctouche Earth Market, which will open at the onset of the 2020 season, set for May, is an initiative of the BFM and is supported by the first Slow Food convivium in New Brunswick, Slow Food Cocagne Acadie (SFCA), and the Town of Bouctouche. The leaders and support team are members of the original convivium.
The main producers attending the market are from southeastern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia and are all small to medium-scale producers who work in line with the Slow Food principles of good, clean and fair. Thus far, 20 producers are involved, bringing seasonal products such as fresh vegetables, berries and fruits, edible flowers, and specialties from the Ark of Taste. There are always free-range eggs, fresh and cured meats, farm cheeses, and honey, jam, and preserves.
Regular season: every Saturday from May 18 to October 26, from 8:00am to 1:00pm
Summer season: every Thursday from July 5 to August 29, from 4:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: 9 Irving Blvd, Bouctouche, New Brunswick E4S 3J3, Canada
Slow Food Community Finca Vista Hermosa – Farm-to-Table Earth Market (CUBA)
The Finca Vista Hermosa Earth Market in Havana, Cuba was established to promote the concept of farm-to-table based on the principles of Cuban agroecology, sound agricultural practices and local farming traditions, in tandem with the Slow Food criteria of good, clean and fair food production and consumption. La Finca Vista Hermosa is a family farm of over 60 hectares, which for five generations has been dedicated to producing vegetables, milk, cheese, and meat according to the principles of social and environmental sustainability. They serve as an important part of the Slow Farm Movement of Latin America and the Caribbean.
This Earth Market hosts a variety of presentations, conferences, fairs, and guided visits centered around sustainable agricultural methods that safeguard the environment and biodiversity. These educational activities are designed to encompass Slow Food’s social and environmental commitments, something that is also disseminated at the farm’s designated communications spaces where visitors can learn more about Slow Food’s mandate and mission.
Join them in celebrating Terra Madre Day on December 10th!
When: On Sundays, every 3 months, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Where: Finca Vista Hermosa, Camino La Esperanza S/N. Bacuranao, Havana, Cuba
Slow Food Targ Earth Market in Pietruszkowy, Krakow (POLAND)
The Targ Earth Market in Krakow, Poland, aims to improve access to good, clean and fair food by shortening the supply chain and eliminating intermediaries between food producer and consumers, making sustainable food more affordable and allowing farmers to get fair prices for their products. The market is held twice a week all year round, where live cooking and tasting activities offer a way for consumers to learn about the value of local produce by teaching them about the pleasures of food. The market also hosts workshops and interviews with farmers and producers, creating a space for people from rural and urban areas to meet, share, and develop a mutual sense of trust. From 2019 the market joined the Slow Food network gathering producers and activist in a Slow Food Community and joining the Earth Market programme.
The group also collaborates with other organizations, like the Kupuj Odpowiedzialnie (“buy responsibly”) Foundation, which works to secure sustainable development, environmental protection, and responsible consumption and production, organizing special days dedicated to themes like fair trade and conscious shopping.
When: Wednesdays (1:00pm-5:00pm) and Saturdays (8:00am-1:00pm)
Where: Targ Pietruszkowy Farmers’ Market, Niepodległości Square, ul. Kalwaryjska 9-15, Krakow, Poland
Slow Food Earth Market in Bergamo (ITALIA)
Slow Food Lombardia and the three convivia in Bergamo have established an Earth Market in the city’s Piazza Dante, held twice a month. Inaugurated in April 2016, the Bergamo Earth Market focuses on promoting good, healthy food habits centered around local produce and sustainable products. The market hosts talks and workshops on diverse topics such as fermentation, biodiversity, free-pollination, and medicinal plants, combining nutritional aspects of food with the region’s rich cultural history.
Together with producers, farmers, cheesemakers, and other professionals within the food world – and thanks to the support of the local Slow Food convivia – the group seeks to nuture a collective awareness that ackowledges the enormous impact eating habits have on our health and that of the planet.
When: every second and fourth Saturday of the month, from 9:00am-2:00pm
Where: Piazza Dante Alighieri, Bergamo, BG, Italy 24121
The representatives of the Slow Food Community of the Earth Market in Bergamo will join the national meeting of the Earth Market of Slow Food Italy in Castellammare, Stabia, November 29th – December 1st.