Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Boston Public Market Association

I've been on the board of Boston Public Market Association for more than a year.

The goal of BPMA is to establish a year-round, indoor farmers market serving Boston, selling vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat, and value-added products from local sources, year-round, and regardless of the weather.

Some other cities in the US have markets like this. (San Francisco has the Ferry Building Marketplace; Seattle has Pike Place Market; etc.) More cities elsewhere in the world have markets like this; they serve as hubs for sellers, buyers, and community. Even more cities used to have markets like this. Over the course of the last 60 years, supermarkets have supplanted these public markets.

The BPMA project is vitally important; it is important to us eaters, to greater Boston, to New England, and to the world, for many reasons, including (but not limited to) the following:
  • Public markets reduce or eliminate intermediation, making it possible for small-scale sellers to get a fair price for their goods, and making it possible for buyers to meet small-scale sellers and understand where there food is coming from.
  • Public markets reduce transportation and distribution needs, which leads to fresher food.
  • Public markets keep money in the local economy, rather than sending it to who-knows-where.
  • Public markets can foster positive interaction among people of different ethnic and economic backgrounds, as well as among folks of different urbanization backgrounds (country, suburb, and city folks).
  • Public markets can make fresh food available to underserved communities.
  • Public markets are likely to be more resilient than supermarkets in the face of precipitous social infrastructure change (increased fuel/transportation costs, currency or bank failures, terrorist attacks, and so on).
  • Public markets are FUN!
  • etc.
(If you would like to hear more about the importance of local food, I'd encourage you to read pretty much ANY of the books that appeal to you in the sidebar to the right.)

I think it's likely that BPMA will achieve its goal within a few years.

If you have thoughts about this, or would like to be kept in the loop, please let me know, become a fan on Facebook, and/or ask to be added to our mailing list.

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