Assessing the Pocket Market Model for Growing the Local Food Movement: A Case Study of Metropolitan Vancouver
Keywords:Alternative Food Networks, Local Food Distribution, Pocket Market, Metro Vancouver, Sustainable Food Systems
In this study we explore the pocket market model, an emergent alternative retail marketing arrangement for connecting urban consumers with local food producers. In this model, community-based organizations act as local food brokers, purchasing fresh, healthful food from area farmers and food producers, and selling it to urban consumers in small-scale, portable, local food markets. The benefits of pocket markets are numerous. They include the provision of additional and more localized marketing outlets for local food producers; increased opportunities to educate consumers about local food and sustainable food systems; the convenience for consumers of having additional venues where local food is available for purchase; and an ability to increase access to fresh produce in areas with poor or limited retail food options. Despite these advantages, pocket market organizers face many challenges in implementing this model successfully. These include a lack of public familiarity with the pocket market concept, an inability to address issues of food access in a way that is financially sustainable, and issues related to logistics, site selection, and regulatory requirements.
In this paper, we will explore the pocket market model using those operating in metropolitan Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) as an example, and assess the degree to which it addresses some of the current gaps in bringing local food to urban communities.
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