The Special Value of Food Markets

In the last thirty years, food companies and supermarkets have succeeded in bringing down the price of food, when measured as a percentage of workers’ earnings. The downside has been a devastating effect on available variety due to the small and craft products not being as easily available in shopping malls.

Following that an unnecessary disconnect has developed between people and their source of their food. Old cultures of growing one’s own food; be it a vegetable patch in your back garden or in rural communities in their fields, is still sadly on the decline.

The good news is that there is a growth of food markets in suburbia, where small and medium sized producers bring a variety of produce to market. For the market shopper: vegetables by the hundred-weight and, depending on the size of the market, by the ton. Meat cuts and meat preserves never seen in a supermarket. Traditional Breads of rye, sorghum, stone-ground wheat. Farm butter, yoghurts, craft cheeses, select coffee and beer.  Food-focused markets offer deli take-outs, pickles and sauces; and provide meals ranging from pizza and duck-pies, to stiff porridge and fried fat scratching’s (pap en kaings).

The resurgence of these markets is something SLOW FOOD encourages. Interested and interesting people abound in a social exchange, meeting producers and fellow shoppers. There is definitely a sense of local community, far removed from the sterile sameness of the malls.

Slow food Johannesburg, in association with Slow Food Pretoria and Slow Food Magalies, is promoting markets through our web-site, by publishing – and updating – a detailed list of Gauteng producer markets, with a view of promoting market visits. By increasing such interest, we expect to encourage more producers to market.

> View our current local market list.

Yours convivially
Dennis Conway
Slow Food Johannesburg Convivium Leader

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