From Barcelona to Seattle, historic markets ally to survive

  • Jun. 28, 2018 10:40 a.m.

LONDON — City food markets that have been around for centuries are threatened by online shopping, rising costs and even become targets of extremist attacks. Now some of the most iconic ones are banding together to raise awareness of their place in the community and resist becoming merely tourist attractions.

London’s Borough Market, which has been at the heart of the city for over 1,000 years, said Thursday it will ally with the La Boqueria in Barcelona, Markthalle Neun in Berlin, Central Market Hall in Budapest, Sydney Fish Market in Sydney, Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, and Pike Place Market in Seattle.

The goal is to promote the sale of local produce at a time when internet behemoths like Amazon are often delivering the same fresh food, sometimes at lower prices. To do so, the markets hope to leverage their ability to create a sense of community in large cities.

That ability came to the fore after an attack in Borough Market in June last year left eight dead. Barely a month later, 14 were killed when a car rampaged through La Boqueria.

Vendors in Borough Market say the attack changed the community and they now talk to each other more.

“If we need a favour — anything — we can ask our neighbours”, said Germana Forlena, a seller of cheese and cuts of Italian meats.

The markets were historically mainly wholesalers, where restaurants and shops came to find the day’s fresh produce. Over time, as the supply chain has modernized through deliveries, markets have now become more important as destinations for tourists or local food enthusiasts. Combined, the seven markets attract 75.4 million visitors a year.

Martin Piquois, a trader at a shop that sells French cheese, says Borough Market has been able to attract locals, especially professionals looking for lunch. “Half of our customers used to be tourists, but we make money from the regulars. People coming from the City.”

Donald Hyslop, Chair of Trustees of Borough Market, says the markets’ partnership will aim to give them a voice in city politics.

“A lot of markets choose this balance between community and tourism. Of course we want the economic benefit of tourism, but I think we need to reinforce that community is the primary purpose,” said Hyslop, who was behind the partnership.

“We need to remember that the reason markets exist is because they grew to supply and nurture a community. They’re much more than a place to buy your fruit and your vegetables.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Rappelling down Red Deer’s Stantec Building a thrilling, scary experience

Advocate reporter chronicles his trip down the 13-storey buildling

Red Deer raises $60,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation

27 brave residents rappell down Stantec Building

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

WATCH: Gazebo groundbreaking in Waskasoo

Fifty per cent of the $100,000 project is funded by a provincial government grant

Woman killed in collision near Olds

A woman is dead after a collision west of Olds Saturday afternoon.… Continue reading

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

SUMMERLAND, B.C. — Officials in British Columbia’s Okanagan region hope that fire… Continue reading

Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

BRANSON, Mo. — “Grab the baby!” Those were the last words Tia… Continue reading

HMCS St. John’s to return to Halifax after six-month deployment overseas

HALIFAX — The countdown is on for the homecoming of a Halifax-class… Continue reading

Trump says lawyer taping him may be ‘illegal’

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — The Latest on President Donald Trump and his onetime… Continue reading

Spieth part of 3-way tie for British lead as Woods lurks

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland — Jordan Spieth has a share of the lead in… Continue reading

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month