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Athens celebrates local markets this Friday

History and innovation, experience and entrepreneurship, food and culture come together this Friday in Athens as part of the annual Love your Local Market festival celebrating retail and wholesale markets. The campaign slogan this year is “Markets: close to your heart.”

“Markets: close to your heart” is the slogan for this year’s Love your Local Market campaign. The annual initiative is the biggest annual celebration of wholesale and retail markets in cities and towns around Europe and a special event will take place this Friday (May 4) in one of them – the Central Market of Athens.

With numerous festivities and free entrance, the occasion is hosted by the Central Markets and Fishery Organisation (ΟΚΑΑ for its initials in Greek), which is participating for the fourth consecutive year in the European-wide Love Your Local Market initiative as a member of the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM).

ΟΚΑΑ is hosting the event at the central market in the Athens district of Renti and three big music stages, live art, gastronomy events, street food and an alternative pop up market will be part of the festive program from 5pm till late.

It said the main purpose of the festivities is to strengthen links between markets, consumers and the local communities in which they are located. They are also intended to promote the general profile and role of retail and wholesale markets, to bring small and big markets closer together, and to promote high quality products from all over the country. All in all, the idea is “to bring the best raw material in the Greek market – with the Central Markets and Fishery Organisation as a main supplier – together with a majority of consumers.”

The Love your Local Market campaign includes activities in more than 30 countries in Europe, America and Asia celebrating everything that is great about theses markets and the traders within them. Throughout the month of May of each year, more than 3,000 markets carry out activities to raise awareness of their role as the backbone of the food trade and one of the most dynamic parts of the cities in which they are found.

The Central Market of Athens includes the vegetable and meat market of Athens, a consumer (retail) market and warehousing and packing facilities. It is one of two central markets and 11 fish wharves across Greece where OKAA is located.

Founded in 1955, it is now a major partner in the national food supply chain, helping supply the Greek population with fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and the largest food market management company in the Balkans. In 2014, it won a business excellence award from the WUWM.

The WUWM is an international non-profit association that promotes exchange of information on retail and wholesale fresh produce markets. It is based in The Hague, in the Netherlands.

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Barcelona now has seven ‘green’ markets

"The aim is for the network of green markets to spread through the city, favouring the consumption of fresh, quality, local produce, not only as a healthy habit, but also backing local farm production."

Barcelona has expanded its network of ‘green markets’, an initiative designed to boost the offering of local, organic and otherwise eco-friendly and healthy produce sold at the city’s fresh produce markets.

In October 2015, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau announced plans to turn 25 municipal markets into such green markets under the ‘Mercats Verds’ campaign. Seven are now part of the initiative, which also promotes more sustainable facilities.

The programme is supported by measures such as special labelling to make local produce more visible, helping customers become aware of and buy it.

In May this year, Barcelona’s councillor for Employment, Enterprise and Tourism, Agustí Colom said about half the products at the then four markets participating in the scheme are local, “but they’re not identified.”

Colom said the aim is for the network of green markets to spread through the city, “favouring the consumption of fresh, quality, local produce, not only as a healthy habit, but also backing local farm production.”

The seven markets now part of the Mercats Verds’ scheme are the Clot, Concepció, Horta, Les Corts, Lesseps, Llibertat and Sant Martí markets.