“We were thrilled to be nominated and that in itself has been a wonderful experience for us, providing a platform to talk about the importance of local markets and sustainable food in Britain today. We are so proud to be part of the final three,” said organisers Karen Jones and Laura Marchant-Short. “This represents a culmination of years of hard work by not only ourselves and our community of volunteers, food growers, producers and market traders, but also a recognition of both local markets and local communities supporting each other. Our market was self-funded and set up on volunteer energy, and represents the power of Transition Towns to bring people together and just get things done. So many long-term friendships have formed during our Saturday market, between the market team, all our many volunteers, our farmers, food producers and artists, in fact everyone in our community. Most of our visitors are regulars, and they are now really getting to understand the provenance and seasonality of the food they are buying and eating,” said Karen.
“It’s a great honour to be part of the BBC Food Awards and to be in the company of Doncaster and Levenshulme Markets as well as all the other finalists. It’s given us a platform to talk about the principles that we set up and run the market by – supporting sustainable farmers and local food producers, helping to protect traditional farming knowledge and varieties and building community resilience. One of the best things about the market for me is that it contributes to a deeper connection to nature and community”, said Laura.
The market, located on Haynes Lane, off Westow Street, SE19, happens every Saturday from 10am to 3pm and “We try to ensure that everything is covered without duplicating any stalls so you’ll find a wide range of organic meat , British charcuterie and sustainably caught fish (along with oyster bar), lots of organic fresh fruit and veg, raw dairy, our Grain Grocer, bread baked in Brixton and Thornton Heath and locally produced cakes, gluten free goodies, deli items, preserves, pickles, artisan beers, small vineyard & natural wines as well as a different street food for lunch each week,” explains Karen.
We usually have a free children’s activity, gardening advice or cooking demonstration as well,” adds Laura, “and our friends Antenna Studios run a lovely licensed cafe and recording studios next door which lend the market a great vibe. Special mention to our other neighbours Haynes Lane market – it’s a treasure trove of collectables in there.”
The market also provides a free platform for the many other Crystal Palace Transition Town projects, including hosting our artist and makers collective stall Handmade Palace, and the Patchwork Farm stall, which sells or swaps gluts grown anywhere in Crystal Palace including on patches of soil or in window boxes as well as from our own Transition Town’s community gardens, everyone else’s back gardens and the many nearby allotments. Stalls are also provided at no charge to community groups such as schools, scouts, churches and charity fund-raisers. We host a vibrant busking spot called Buskers’ Paradise along with the studios. This market was set up as an alternative to the current food system and to change our locals’ weekly shopping habits. We want to thank the whole of Palace for supporting us week in, week out, even when it’s pouring with rain or blowing a gale.