Role of farmer markets? Can short food chains also benefits the urban poor?
Date: 2013-04-17 16:12:23 User: Marielle Dubbel
An interesting discussion has been on going on other forums on the role of farmer markets in shortening urban food chains:
As posted earlier on this forum there are several , recent initiatives in Europe (France, Spain and Rome) as well as in the global South (see the posting on Nepal) to support short food chains and farmer markets. See also the initiative of the Commune of Rome to support farmers markets.
A question however can be raised to what extent urban poor and vulnerable groups can also buy food at such markets. Direct trading from farmers to consumers is mainly done and advertised such a way to promote local quality and an image of proximity that is not obligatorily related to lower price, often on the contrary.

There are examples of linking local organic farmer's markets to support for the socially excluded , as practiced by the city of Vancouver, where food stamps issued by the local authorities can only be exchanged at the local farmers markets. The counterpart is that beneficiaries attend a course on nutrition and how to prepare/home preserve food.
Another example to address this issue comes from Rome under the Campagna Amica project. They organize farmers markets all around Italy. Producers sell their products during the weekend and they are forced by Coldiretti, to offer common fruits and vegetables with a 30% less than SMS CONSUMATORI ( that communicate the prices of general products in Italy.
A similar practice can be found in Belo Horizonte, Brazil where the governments set fixed low prices on about 20 products that are sold in local shops.
Other examples are the involvement of vulnerable groups in food growing to enhance their direct access to food. It is possible here to set up schemes where elderly people with garden space allow younger, more able bodied people to grow fruit & veggies in their gardens, in exchange for a portion of the produce.
Please share other example that you may have on linking short food chains to socially vulnerably groups.
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