Food markets

When we buy garlic in a supermarket, we pay them, on average, at 5 euros per kilo; those same garlics have been bought from farmers for less than 1.50 euros. For the tomatoes for the salad we pay almost 2 euros when their producers have been paid at 30 euro cents, that is, the price – not the value – between origin and destination has been multiplied by six in this case. But the most bloody case is found, according to data from the COAG union from November 2012, in cauliflowers where there is a percentage difference of more than 600%. While in the supermarket they are offered at 1.84 euros per kilo, to those who sowed, watered and harvested them, they are paid at 0.24 euros per kilo.

This index, which measures the differences between the price paid at origin and paid at destination, is a very good tool to report one of the factors that most complicate the survival of people in rural areas: the control of the entire agri-food chain is concentrated in very few large supermarkets, where today almost all of us buy almost everything. With this ‘super power’ they allow themselves, as we have seen, to set very low prices to their suppliers and even in some cases to pay below production costs, as with milk or oil.

It was not always like this. Until not long ago, small businesses in towns and neighborhoods or municipal markets played the important role of distributing food. And there was also another instrument that directly related consumers and peasants: the weekly ‘pageses markets’  that were installed in streets and squares. Many factors, including the little attention that administrations have given to this practice, made them disappear from many places or corner them as ‘vestiges of the past’. But looking back and reclaiming farmers markets offers many relevant advantages in these times of crisis. Here you can find organic farmers markets .

The fundamental is that they improve the income of the producers, of course, at the same time that it reinforces the entire agrarian and rural economy that is so much needed to generate employment in the countryside. It promotes the production of fresh and local food, which is why we avoid contamination in very long journeys from far away countries. When the presence of agroecological producers is prioritized, we will have healthy, healthy food produced in harmony with the environment. Finally, if we review the studies carried out in the Farmers Markets of the United Kingdom we see that, for the consumer population, going to these markets guarantees low prices since there are no intermediaries, quality and a way to reduce food risks: local, from well-known producers and they show their faces,

Today we find  very interesting experiences  to recover these peasant markets. As in Lleida, Les Franqueses del Vallés, Sant Joan d’Alacant, Ciutadella (Menorca) or the MónEmpordà ecomarket that for four years has been traveling every Saturday in Rupià, Corsà, Verges and Torroella de Montgrí. Ecological vegetables, smoked trout, native cereal breads, eggs from hens that roam free in the region, wines from L’Albera and many other good foods are part of a weekly offer that disappeared 50 years ago. With small differences (periodicity, indoors or outdoors, with organic food or not, fixed or itinerant …), all defend a central value: promote the direct sale of the products of farmers and artisan processors.

If the political will is activated, some recommendations are clear based on experiences and results analyzed elsewhere. First, its fundamental objective cannot be lost sight of: to achieve the consumption of healthy and local food, maintaining and promoting small-scale agriculture. For this, the procedures for obtaining permits must be facilitated, adequate and differentiated spaces must be offered for the sale of food, accessible fees, etc. Second, to prohibit the resale of products in those markets, since it represents unfair competition for our peasantry. Third, to promote dialogue with other agents of the food trade in the environment. As has been demonstrated in Vitoria or Oviedo, the synergies with the municipal market or the neighborhood shops are positive for everyone. And finally,

As the sociologist José Ramón Mauleón explains, having  a traditional peasant market, once or twice a week, in a neighborhood of Barcelona or in a mountain town, “is much more than a commitment to a commercial format.”  Peasant markets are inserted as a fundamental piece in the already known political approach of Food Sovereignty, which defends agriculture – and therefore food – away from intensive industries that do not generate employment and mistreat the Planet, detached from markets with soil of parquet where food is simple stock prices and land is a substrate of speculation, to be, instead, an agriculture close to people and the planet of which we are part.

Gustavo Duch Guillot .


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