was another exhibitor at the Farm to Table conference. Although I am not exactly sure what this Market House is, I get the feeling that it is exactly what I have been hoping for. I have trouble making it to farmers' markets on specific days and times (particularly since most of them are in the afternoon on week days and that is a tough time for me and the kiddoes) and have often wished that there was a farm market in the city similar to what one might find out in the burbs at an actual Farm Market (like Soergel's, Schramm's, Trax, Triple B, etc.). These are nice places, but they are a good 30 minute highway drive from our house. Not exactly environmentally friendly in our mini van.
There are many other cities which have public markets, and some cities are similar in size to Pittsburgh. Columbus, Ohio has North Market http://www.northmarket.com/. Seattle has Pike Place http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_Place_Market. Then there's the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Cleveland has West Side Market. http://www.westsidemarket.com/
There was one in Portland, Maine when we lived there called Portland Public Market, but unfortunately it closed. Then they opened with a smaller venue. http://www.publicmarkethouse.com/mission.html And of course there's Lancaster's Central Market. http://server1.fandm.edu/departments/tdf/MarketSite/FSet.html In fact, Rick Seback recently filmed a special on these markets called "To Market, To Market. . ." http://www.wqed.org/tv/natl/market/index.php
And, many other cities are starting markets or trying to start them. Boston, for example. http://www.bostonpublicmarket.org/. And, Portland, Oregon http://www.portlandpublicmarket.com/, among many others. Apparently, even the business folks are whole-heartedly behind this resurgence in interest in markets:http://www.planningreport.com/tpr/?module=displaystory&story_id=1153&edition_id=76&format=html.
Here is some text I stole from a market website for a St. Louis market about why public markets are so great if you need convincing:
"Public Markets, with their locally grown, locally made and locally owned businesses, accentuate the qualities that make a community special. They create dynamic places, stimulate economic opportunity and instill community spirit and cultural exchange.
Public Markets provide needed goods and services such as farm fresh fruits and vegetables, ethnic foods, crafts and personal services that are often unavailable at the same level of quality, variety and price.
Public Goals of Public Markets:
attracting customers to urban areas
supporting affordable retailing opportunities for small businesses
addressing the problems of street vending
providing opportunities to farmers thereby preserving farmland
activating the use of public space
providing quality produce to urban customers where supermarkets are unavailable or limited"
Apparently, I am not alone in having this wish for Pittsburgh. The Allegheny Market House proposes to restore the North Side's Market House and fill it with micro businesses and a farmer's market. It would like to have an indoor location and be open year round. I have high hopes for this project and will be contacting them (412-322-0265) to find out if I can help in any way. I hope you will do the same. http://alleghenymarkethouse.com/. Perhaps someone could work on their website. . .