Baltimore aims to increase local access to fresh food with community market

Tara Copplestone, Marie Loviny, Jonnie Goyer and Jean Perry are part of a group in Baltimore behind a new community market that will encourage local growing and buying

With food security such a concern right now, a group of sustainably-minded people in Baltimore have taken matters into their own hands to build a food system that encourages growers, producers and farmers to sell their produce as locally as possible.

Baltimore Community Market will launch at the Baltimore Community Hall on Sunday, May 8, running from 11am-3pm, and continuing every Sunday throughout the year, with all growers and makers in Baltimore, Rath and the islands welcome to take part.

“Our aim is to encourage people in Baltimore, Rath and the islands to start growing their own produce and for local people to have access to it,” explains Jean Perry, one of the growers behind the initiative.

If the market is a success, the local community will have access to fresh, nutritious, chemical-free produce all year round on their doorstep, enhancing people’s choice, nutrition and hopefully reducing food waste.

“After completing the SECAD Sustainable Communities Training Programme, I started thinking about what sustainability is for us here in Baltimore,” says Marie Loviny, another local grower.

“We’re eight miles from Skibbereen and access to fresh produce so that was the key driver behind this initiative,” says Marie, “and when we started to look around we found there were already so many people producing locally.”

Taking inspiration from the UK’s greenest city, York, and its very successful sustainable Food Circle, the Baltimore group will also host a community stall at the market, where locals can sell their surplus produce.

“If someone has excess produce in their garden, they don’t have to have their own stall,” explains Jean, “they can sell it on the community stall. It will also provide the opportunity for selling things like chutneys using excess produce from the market, reducing any food waste.” 

Funds raised from a tea and coffee stand will be channelled back into the community, benefitting local groups and projects.

“We want it to become a real hub of activity in the village,” says Jean.

The market has already established an impressive list of contributors with promised produce to include: seasonal fresh vegetables and fruit; home baking; hen and duck eggs; artisan cocktail mixes; handmade organic chocolates; preserves; honey, beeswax, soap and candles; flowers and plants.

There will also be a small craft section with handmade woollen clothes, scarves, hats, printed silk scarves, home-spun wool skeins and handmade cushions and doll’s clothes.

Chair of Tidy Towns and seconded to the Baltimore Community Council, Jonnie Goyer has kindly volunteered to help with the administration.

Anyone interested in having a stand or supplying produce to the Community stall at the
market should email
baltimorecommunitymarket@gmail.com.

Mary O'Brien

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