OPENAIR

Market Network

The Mercado de Antón Martín

by Madeleine Jones, Agricultural and Applied Economics Undergraduate Student at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Our last stop in Spain was Madrid, where I visited the Mercado de Antón Martín. The Mercado de Antón Martín is located in the bohemian district of Huertas, bordering the immigrant barrio of Lavapiés. The Mercado de Antón Martín has been open since 1941, and it is one of the most traditional markets in the city. It is tucked away in an alley, bordered on both sides by artisan cafes, bars, and butcher shops. The market has a bit of an indie vibe, which echoes that of the neighborhood it is in.

The Mercado de Antón Martín is tucked in between Calle de Santa Isabel and Calle de Atocha in the bohemian district of Huertas, bordering the immigrant barrio of Lavapiés.

The Mercado de Antón Martín is tucked in between Calle de Santa Isabel and Calle de Atocha in the bohemian district of Huertas, bordering the immigrant barrio of Lavapiés.

A few carts line the outside of the building, but most of the market’s 63 stalls are inside of the two-story establishment. They tout an astonishing variety of wares: clothing, meats, produce, herbs, wine, packaged foods, regional specialties (e.g., Iberian ham), and more. Organic food stalls, wine bars, and a craft beer shop emphasize the hipster feel, and there is even a space for cooking demonstrations and small art exhibits.

A few stalls line the outside of the Mercado de Antón Martín, but most of the market’s 63 stalls are inside the two-story establishment.

A few stalls line the outside of the Mercado de Antón Martín, but most of the market’s 63 stalls are inside the two-story establishment.

The Mercado de Antón Martín offers an astonishing variety of goods including regional specialties like Iberian ham, as seen hanging from the top of this stall.

The Mercado de Antón Martín offers an astonishing variety of goods including regional specialties like Iberian ham, as seen hanging from the top of this stall.

The Mercado de Anton Martín’s success is partly due to the fact that vendors are highly attuned to their customers’ demands. A recent influx of high-income professionals who prefer high-quality organic products has profited the market. New vendors have moved into the market in response to the demands of these shoppers, offering high-quality gourmet items such as Yoko, a vendor offering Japanese carryout food. Some of the vendors have expressed interest in adding more specialized offerings like natural, fresh-squeezed juices. However, current city ordinances governing municipal markets prevent this. I did see a smoothie bar at the market, and it seems vendors are doing their best to capitalize on market trends, even if they cannot take advantage of the “juicing” craze. Overall, there are marked attempts to satisfy the tastes of emerging and increasingly dominant consumer groups like young people and tourists. A further attempt to draw in homesick tourists is exemplified in shops like Best of Britain, which sells products like Heinz baked beans and offers language learning events.

Vendors are highly attuned to the demands of tourists and young consumers, as demonstrated by specialty shops catering to these demographics like “Cereal Lovers.”

Vendors are highly attuned to the demands of tourists and young consumers, as demonstrated by specialty shops catering to these demographics like “Cereal Lovers.”

Tourists are not the only ones who frequent the Mercado de Antón Martín. Immigrants comprise another important market segment, especially Latin American buyers. In particular, vendors make a special effort to cater to Ecuadorian tastes, and just last year, two new Ecuadorian produce vendors established themselves in the market. Thanks to these establishments, shoppers can buy yuca, plátano macho verde (green bananas), and maíz para tostar (toasting corn).

Fresh produce remains an important category in the market. Regional produce vendors offer goods from abroad (especially South America) to tap into the immigrant market.

Fresh produce remains an important category in the market. Regional produce vendors offer goods from abroad (especially South America) to tap into the immigrant market.

Lastly, the Municipal Market of Antón Martín continues to maintain its traditional lifelong client base. This segment consists of women over 65 who almost daily go to the market to buy produce. In many cases, the vendors have known these clients for 20 years or more, and have a jovial and personal relationship with them. As one merchant puts it, “They are old people who, sometimes do not need anything but come to see you.”

Visiting Spain was truly a vibrant cultural experience, and visiting the marketplaces there gave me a much better sense of the traditions, current trends, cultural values, and of course, culinary offerings that make Spain what it is!

Markets and Vendors in Spain

by Madeleine Jones, Agricultural and Applied Economics Undergraduate Student at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Over the past eleven days, I had the chance to visit Spain with my family. In between enjoying tapas, museums, and touring, I explored some of the informal marketplaces in the different regions I toured. Over the course of my trip, I encountered an astounding array of markets—from farmers’ markets and fruit vendors, to gourmet food markets offering sushi and cocktails, to emigrant manteros selling their wares off bedsheets. In the following post, I will try to give you a small taste of the thriving vendor culture that I experienced while in Spain.

First, some quick background on marketplaces and vendors in Spain. It is estimated that there are between 3,500 and 4,000 street markets in Spain, creating some 50,000 jobs. These markets are located mainly in Andalucía, Valenciana, and Cataluña, and are dominated by a few main sectors: textiles, food, footwear, crafts and home equipment. Street vending has long served as a gateway into the labor market for people with little education or training. The lack of street vending regulation in Spain has contributed to the popular belief that the government allowed the activity as a social service to the vendors. However, studies have shown that it is in fact the street vendors who benefit society by providing goods to less-populated areas of Spain and enhancing rural development.

Now, back to the action! My family and I flew into Madrid Barajas International Airport, and spent the first part of our trip in Mijas, a town in Málaga, Andalusia. Located on the southeastern coast of Spain, Mijas offers stunning sea views and an easy trip into Fuengirola, a beach town on the Costa del Sol Málaga. In Fuengirola, there were many vendors selling trinkets, clothing items, and counterfeit goods, on a bedsheet—a practice called top manta. I saw this trend replicated in Granada later in the trip, and I read about the practice in a Fortune.com article titled “Counterfeit sidewalk vendors in Spain try to go legit”. The article chronicles a Senegalese-Spanish emigrant’s quest to form a worker’s union, establishing the validity of his trade. However, at least in Fuengirola, the police force is cracking down.

The sea view from our house in Mijas on the southeast coast of Spain.

The sea view from our house in Mijas on the southeast coast of Spain.

A celebrated example of the market culture in Fuengirola is La Galería Gastromarcado, which opened in early February last year and is located in the heart of the city. This upscale market boasts twelve booths and a bar, and many of the vendors are clearly aimed at capturing the tourist market with hip offerings like sushi and cocktails. However, others, like Tierra Mía, strive to retain an authentic character in their dishes. They offer traditional Spanish fare with a creative twist. For example, their menu selections include fabada, a hearty stew from the mountains of Asturias in northern Spain, rabo de toro, a traditional Cordoban stew made with the tail of a cow or bull, and paella, Valencian rice dish. This past April, La Galería proudly attended the First Meeting of Markets of Spain (el I Encuentro de Mercados de España) in Cordoba, which brought together representatives from 24 gourmet markets throughout the country.

Fuengirola, a beach town on the Costa del Sol Málaga.

Fuengirola, a beach town on the Costa del Sol Málaga.

LA Vending Clears a Hurdle

Earlier this week the Public Works Committee of the Los Angeles City Council approved a framework for legalizing sidewalk vending.  This is an important and welcome step.   The details of how vending would be regulated remain to be worked out.   At the committee hearing some proposed limiting vendors to 2 per block face and requiring a vendor to get permission from the neighboring property owner.  Such requirements would risk make vendors second class business owners.

If I bought a storefront and proposed to open a retail store, the City would not say, “Sorry, we already have 2 retail stores on that block– we don’t want anymore.”  Nor would the City require me to get the permission of neighboring businesses before opening.   So why should the City require this of a would-be sidewalk vendor?  The City needs more business activity, not less.  Sidewalk vendors are already unfairly stigmatized.  Giving storefront business owners a veto over the right of someone else to set up a business– competing or not– is not good policy.  They may be tempted to veto vending for any number of reasons, or no reason at all.

This conversation will continue, as the Committee’s framework makes its way to the City Council and a draft ordinance is prepared.  One hopes that the City, having finally said “yes” to vending, will not abdicate its authority and allow someone else to say “no.”

Legalizing Los Angeles

Los Angeles gets closer to legalizing sidewalk vending.

You might not know it, but it is illegal to sell things on the sidewalk in Los Angeles.  A decades-old city ordinance makes selling from the sidewalk a misdemeanor.  Yet consumers crave sidewalk goods, whether it’s some sliced fruit to enjoy while waiting for the bus, or a hat embroidered by the vendor herself .  Vendors who serve this demand risk arrest.  Confiscation of property, fines, and jail time are bad enough.  But with a new administration arriving in Washington, DC, and the fact that many vendors are undocumented, vendors will soon also risk deportation.

That is, unless the city takes action to legalize sidewalk vending.  After several years of action by vendor activists and vendors themselves, the city is taking a step toward legalization.  On Monday, December 12, 2016, the city council’s Public Works and Gang Reduction Committee will consider a  framework for legalization of street vending in Los Angeles.  The proposed framework is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.  The time has come to take action.

A media advisory is attached.  lasvc-media-advisory-12-12-16

Measurements at Farmers Markets Inspire ACTION

Farmers markets are multifunctional activities, threading together many types of purposes people have. Elderly often fondly recall the days of their youth at local markets and we know that markets decreased over the course of their lives, but we also know the demand for local foods have returned marketplaces to prominence over the last 30 years. We also know that the elderly are often relatively confined and unable to get out to these public spaces. Hernando MS, has increased SNAP participation at their market, but they have also drawn attention for their success in attracting senior citizens to their market. The market in Hernando is organized by the City of Hernando and supervised by Gia Matheny. The market began accepting tokens at a central terminal in 2016 and this increased work load allowed Gia to hire a manager and assistant manager as well, which freed her time for adding more market activities and focusing on other innovative bridge-building in her community. Recognizing the needs of senior citizens in the community she developed a partnership with AARP and United Health Care to incentivize the token program to double SNAP benefits, and from there she has organized a Senior Day on the first Saturday of each month.  Knowing that transportation can be a problem she wrote a successful a grant from an area transportation provider that provides free transportation for seniors on these market days. Senior Day is an important time for seniors to socialize with one another, and this activity contributed to Hernando becoming the first “AARP Senior Friendly Community” in the state of Mississippi. The program success increases the number of seniors coming to each Senior Day, and furthermore, data from the market shows a 70% redemption rate of senior vouchers. Certainly a more comprehensive discussion would describe the organizational activities required to execute this program, yet, the program is a great example.

Dia De Los Muertos – San Salvador, El Salvador

Last Saturday on my way back from a beautiful botanical garden in San Salvador, El Salvador, I came upon a street lined with a variety of vendors leading up to a cemetery where hundreds of people paid their respects to deceased loved ones on Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The ceremonial days, which originated in Mexico dating back to the Aztecs, have spread throughout Latin America with many variations and customs of the celebration depending on the country. Surviving loved ones visit the graves of their departed friends and family to bring gifts and offerings such as flowers, food, and favorite objects amongst others. Various vendors sold flowers, both real and synthetic, jewelry, clothing, art, various foods including pupusas, a cheese and bean filled tortilla-like snack topped with cabbage and hot sauce, grilled corn, and others like fried plantain chips and grilled chicken plates with beans and rice.

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Santiago, Chile

In early October, prior to ending my time in South America and catching a flight to Central America for the remainder of my travels and work, I spent a few days in the tremendously historic capital of Chile, Santiago. Amongst one of the most affluent countries in Latin America, Santiago and Chile as a whole from my perception was more European influenced, in line with other cities I visited like Buenos Aires.

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Farmer’s Markets

Good day folks,

I’ll be interviewed on Wisconsin public radio Monday, July 14. You can access the interview on the web.

Also have a look at the farmers market coalition webpage for new work on farmers markets. http://farmersmarketcoalition.org, a new USDA grant with them will help market managers conduct and report research on marketplaces.

best to all!
Alfonso

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