New Amsterdam Market Goes Monthly | Civil Eats

New Amsterdam Market Goes Monthly

On Sunday, September 13, New Amsterdam Market will inaugurate its first season of monthly, one-day markets in New York City. New Amsterdam Market is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinventing the indoor public market as a civic institution, in the City of New York. The market inauguration will coincide with New York City’s celebration of Harbor Day, which this year honors the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage to the New World. New Amsterdam Market and its diverse vendors will join the Harbor Day festivities by representing the agricultural bounty of the lands visited by Hudson in 1609. Farmers, producers, and purveyors will sell fresh seasonal produce, meats and dairy, wild-gathered greens, breads, cheeses and cured meats, fruits, wine, and cider all from the Northeast, and with a special emphasis on the Hudson Valley.

New Amsterdam Market is a market of purveyors – independent, locally owned businesses committed to sourcing and selling food from the region extending in a radius of approximately 500 miles from the City of New York. As engines of rural development, cities play a key role in the revival of regional food systems. New Amsterdam Market encourages commerce that is mutually beneficial to both urban and rural economies – a model long promoted by cities through the institution of the public market. Using municipal market space in this way harnesses the buying power of urban populations and reinvests it into regional farmland. Within the context of the current economic and ecological crisis, New Amsterdam Market represents a practical level of political and economic governance for food production.

“New Amsterdam Market is exactly what we need at South Street Seaport: a resource for the community and an attraction for the world,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “The market brings the best of regional produce to the heart of the city. This fall, it will continue to link the people of New York City with farmers around the state, helping develop a sustainable food system and strengthening our regional economy.”

The Market will feature innovative New York City food entrepreneurs such as Saxelby Cheesemongers, Marlow and Sons, Dickson’s Farmstand Meats, BoBo Poultry, and Hot Bread Kitchen. Many others will join these pioneering craftsman and their businesses, which provide local jobs while specializing in sourcing and utilizing regional products. These emergent vendors, who welcome the boom in demand for quality foods of regional provenance, need supportive, promotional infrastructure in place to incubate and sustain their business. All American cities once had public markets – markets filled with vendors whose primary concern was selling food they valued, produced by farmers they knew.

While not new, this type of public market must be re-established and reinvented for the modern urban context. Markets are cohesive, site-specific and socially useful urban development mechanisms, as much for the city’s growth as for the preservation of its heritage. Through illuminating the specific geological and historical conditions of urban food landscapes, public markets can help inform today’s sustainable food solutions. Markets were once considered civic institutions because they were held on common ground, and fulfilled a public agenda: providing urban populations with a reliable, affordable, and healthy source of food while fostering regional economic enterprise. As a gathering of individuals committed to pursuing goals for the common good, the public market becomes a venue that builds community and restores the public trust – functions of a robust civic institution.

New Amsterdam Market will be held on Sunday, September 13, 2009, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The markets will take place on South Street, between Beekman Street and Peck Slip in Lower Manhattan, and will also convene at the same time and location on the following Sundays, October 25, November 22, and December 20, 2009.

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The September 13th market will offer market fare and other prepared foods to take away and enjoy along the public piers on South Street or take on Harbor Day ferryboat services to other waterfront destinations around New York City. An estimated 150,000 New Yorkers are expected to attend the citywide Harbor Day events, which are being produced by NYC and Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization.

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A native New Yorker, Katharine Millonzi is an anthropologist, herbalist, cook and eco-gastronome who has worked on sustainable food projects worldwide. She was a 2007-8 Fulbright Fellow to Italy, where she completed an MA in Food Culture and Communications from the Slow Food-founded University of Gastronomic Sciences. Katharine finds inspiration in ‘the peace of wild things’. Read more >

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