In the Opening Plenary of the conference, attendees were asked to brainstorm in small groups around the question, “What are the roles and responsibilities of public markets in reconnecting communities and local economies?” Answers were written onto index cards, and collected throughout the three-day conference.
At Closing Plenary, the top ten answers – the most recurring themes submitted – were presented to conference attendees:
- Catalyze neighborhood and downtown revitalization
- Build community and create a sense of local ownership and pride
- Educate members of the community, especially schools and local businesses, about the myriad benefits of markets
- Promote economic development
- Build and enhance social capital: markets as places which draw people together
- Support local products and the local exchange of goods
- Provide accessible food to all members of the community through EBT, food stamps and other programs
- Inspire a feel-good ambiance
- Create opportunities for small businesses
- Support, educate and sustain farmers
What’s your take on the above? Does your local public market accomplish these goals in your community? How can we move towards meeting the needs of the local communities we serve?