Santo Amaro's Market in Beja provides a public place for all local producers to sell their urban farming products, without any bureaucratic procedures
The Mercado de Santo Amaro is a street market in Beja that provides a space for local urban farmers to sell their products - for example, fruit and vegetables, bakery products, cheeses and sausages, mostly from the municipality of Beja. The Market was installed in 1965 by the Municipality of Beja, located in the historical area of Beja and is held weekly, on Saturdays.
In February 2020, the market was rehabilitated to have more access for producers. With the support and intervention of the Municipality of Beja, even small farmers can sell local products without bureaucratic restrictions, since no fee or registration is required. This is a great opportunity for local producers and farmers to sell agricultural products (but also cakes, eggs and other products) without intermediaries and build a relationship with consumers and citizens, ensuring eco-sustainability and self-sufficiency through community involvement in the production of organic products.
This project helps minimize the negative impacts of economic crises and rising food prices because people can sell the products they produce.
The variety of regional products makes the market attractive to consumers and tourists alike, raises awareness about urban and local agriculture, and contributes to the local economy and value chains.
The municipality uses the Santo Amaro market as a quality reference in Beja.
The resources allocated to the project came from the municipality's staff, through the creation of a dedicated support structure.
Specific knowledge and mutual learning were also obtained between citizens and municipality staff.
Evidence of success
The project is a success in the community, as it provides a place for producers to sell their produce from urban agriculture without any bureaucratic procedures.
The Market currently has about 40 producers, who sell their products weekly to consumers.
This good practice enhances learning and inspiration regarding urban agriculture. Socially, it has been possible to establish a close connection between producers and customers, and access to the market has been facilitated for local producers.
The main challenge for the Santo Amaro market are the weather conditions, since this is a street market.
The inexistence of a refrigeration system means that under heat waves, perishable products are exposed.
Another challenge is the means available to exhibit the products.
Potential for learning or transfer
Santa Amaro Market can be considered a good and inspiring practice because it shows what can be achieved for local producers and the local economy with municipal support and no bureaucratic restrictions. Offering an easily accessible space for as many producers as possible to sell their products from the municipality of Beja has proven to be successful, even small farmers can take that step.
The market itself has become a place of reference where citizens are confident to find the best local products and can establish a connection with ‘their’ producers. It shows the importance of urban farming and what it has to offer to the local population and economy.
This could be transfered to all other regions with key social locations that could be transformed into market places. The focus should be on promoting it as a place where good local products can be bought.