On August 25th, 2014 we celebrated 100 years of the formal existence of street markets in São Paulo, a true cultural heritage of the city. The date refers to the first regulation of this activity in the capital, Act 710, signed by Mayor Washington Luis in 1914. The first official market in the city took place at Largo General Osório.
Today we have 880 markets scattered in thirty-two subdistricts of the city. Generally, the marketplace is filled with family businesses, working in a different market every day of the week except for Monday. Today there are over 16,000 market stalls throughout the capital, in all regions of the city, according to information from City Hall.
The fairs are an important element of food security for the São Paulo population because they ensure the supply of fresh food - mostly fruits and vegetables. To get an idea of the global importance of this issue, a program in New York City called Green Carts was created to encourage the consumption of fresh food in neighborhoods where it is simply impossible to find them. With this initiative, registered street vendors are allowed to sell food on carts and roam the streets of these neighborhoods.
But beyond the strategy of increasing the supply of fresh produce, street fairs are a true cultural heritage of São Paulo. The markets provide livelihoods and represents years of friendships between the shoppers and the vendors as can be heard in their often humorous conversations with one another. Moreover the famous market pastry is an unmissable tourist attraction in São Paulo.
Does your city face food security challenges? If so, what solutions have been proposed?
Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.