The initiative was largely borne out of the curiosity of people at Ondergrond vzw in farmers’ stories and an interest in where the products they buy come from. Inspired by the American farmers’ market model and the Spanish mercado, and with a solid belief in forging cooperation and a passion for investigating pertinent issues, Ellen Pil, Sophie van Haasen, Caroline Huyghe and Daphne Pascual are seeking out the new opportunities the city has to offer.
In response to the demand for local, honest and healthy food in the city, consumers at MARTA can find out everything about what they are eating, where it has come from and how it has been made, all direct from the producer; they can also sample lesser-known varieties of fruit and vegetables at the free cooking demonstrations, and take recipes away to try at home.
Those behind the MARTA initiative want to raise awareness and inform people by fostering participation and cooperation between vendors and chefs to create new products and dishes, and by inspiring the public. Chefs offer breakfast made with products from the vendors and once the market has ended go away and experiment with the surplus produce, creating new dishes to serve. In this way, MARTA wants not only to secure fair prices for farmers and makers by supporting a short supply chain, but also to focus on closing circles by adopting a ‘waste not, want not’ approach. With an attractive, easily recognisable identity and logo, MARTA wants to be approachable and accessible to everyone. MARTA advertises its upcoming markets by way of flyers, while its Facebook page contains reports on visits to farmers and information about cooperation partnerships.