In locations across Victoria, B.C., a food distributor co-op called FoodRoots has established an innovative sales model called pocket markets. These one-stand markets are designed to sell smaller volumes of food than full-size farmers markets, and to cater to a specific community. They bring farm-fresh products to busy environments like government buildings, college and university campuses, and neighborhood corners every day of the week.
These mini-markets have made locally grown produce, eggs, baked goods and more accessible to all kinds of people who wouldn't normally have had time to visit a weekly market, or who might not have been aware of the many benefits and joys of purchasing directly from local farms. And by doing so, the stands guarantee a new stream of business for local farmers. The model allows community groups to bring vibrant activity, healthy food and business into their neighborhoods. FoodRoots offers support, business partnership options and guidance to groups starting their own pocket markets, and is currently working on developing a model for mobile market kits that can help groups who want to start small and grow.
Pocket markets seem like an innovation worth testing in our own city. Pike Place Market is an ideal shopping spot for those who work downtown, but small markets on business, government and university campuses, or in neighborhoods without a year-round farmers market, could make local produce as convenient as the conventional grocery store for many more residents. Seattle's strong network of local farms, long growing season and widespread appreciation for local foods make it an ideal environment for starting up a crop of pocket markets.
What do you think – would you like to see a pocket market near your home or workplace? Do you think this small-scale model would benefit local communities and farms?
To learn more about how to start a pocket market, check out FoodRoots' Pocket Market Toolkit. Though the information is designed for users in Victoria, many of the details and background would be helpful for getting a brainstorm going in your own group.
This post is part of a series. Last weekend, several members of the Worldchanging Seattle team attended a teach-in called Confronting the Food Crisis, presented by the Community Alliance for Global Justice with the generous support of local sponsors and allied community groups. We'll be bringing you news about the solutions we discovered via short posts all week!
Photo source: FoodRoots.