Ecological markets growing in Catalonia

During the last few years there has been a rapid growth in ecological products throughout Catalonia. Markets are popping up all over the territory offering local, organic and ecological products.


September 30, 2010 11:38 PM

Barcelona ( Today’s ecological markets offer a wide range of ecological products that one rarely finds in the average supermarket. These markets are responsible for both finding and guaranteeing local ecological products. Catalonia already has several of these markets, with new ecological spaces popping up as a result of the green phenomenon.

The Catalan towns of Valls, Sant Martí Vell, Cambrils and Lleida are becoming the new referents in the ecological scene for their regular markets that offer ecological products. In France, Prades and Perpignan have had ecological markets for around two decades already. Though the trend has only recently caught on within the last few years in Catalonia, the desire for more ecological markets is rapidly growing.

Lola Puig, creator of the Món Empordà ecological markets, stated, “I myself have had to go to Prades in search for ingredients for my restaurant El Fort in Ullastret because I do not know where to find them in Empordà. Sometimes they even sell products in Prades that are originally from the Empordà region”. Món Empordà is an ecological market chain that currently has 5 locations in the county- the 1st Saturday of the month in Rupià, the 2nd Saturday in Corçà, the 3rd in Verges, the 4th and 5th in Torroella de Montgrí and the 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month at the Castelló d'Empúries. The main idea of the markets is the same: ecological and organic products. A collective organisation manages the control and certification of products from around 30 producers.

In most cases, ecological markets take place at one location. In Sant Cugat del Vallès for example, the market takes place on Saturday mornings in the Pep Ventura Square. Natàlia Led of the organisation Ateneu Santcugatenc expressed her belief in customer loyalty. “The idea is that the market will not just be used one day to buy special sausages or ecological peppers, but rather as a common market where people regularly come to buy such products”.

The range of ecological products is small, focusing on product quality. For example, in the case of carrots, the shorter the distance the product has travelled from the farm, the better it will taste. Proximity also helps in the reduction of intermediaries. In the majority of cases there is a direct sale between farmers and vendors. This kind of commerce is favourable for local farmers, livestock raisers and cheese makers as it promotes the survival of these sectors.

The target consumers for ecological markets are environmentally aware consumers, something that markets are trying to promote through workshops and demonstrations on ecological consumption. Health awareness is also an important aspect of the ecological market sector.