While New Amsterdam Market gained considerable media attention for its campaign to preserve the
Old Fulton Fish Market in Lower Manhattan, the pursuit of this important vision has always been a separate pursuit from the Market's founding mission: to incubate and support a new generation of food purveyors committed to alternative, sustainable food systems.
A purveyor is defined as "One who provides victuals, or whose business is to make provision for the table." Traditional purveyors include the grocers, butchers, fishmongers, fruiterers, cheesemongers and other small food businesses once found in every town and city. Largely replaced by supermarkets during the rise of industrial agriculture, these trades are now being revived and reconnected to farms and fisheries who harvest food with respect for human, animal, and environmental well-being.
The Farmers Market has long provided a transparent forum where food is sold only by those who grow it. For good reason, purveyors are not permitted at traditional farmers markets such as the New York City Greenmarket, which maintains its unparallelled integrity by enforcing its defining mission as a "grower-only" direct-sales outlet. New Amsterdam Market was envisioned to serve as a complementary alternative to the Greenmarket, by accommodating a growing community of vendors who are not farmers, but who nonetheless support similar ideals. New Amsterdam Market is the first organization to introduce this concept as specifically aimed to further the development of a new small-business economy dedicated to sustainable principles.
New Amsterdam Market collaborated with over 400 vendors since its inception in 2005, many of whom are purveyors, distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, or other non-farm, non-restaurant businesses committed to transparent sourcing of regional and imported ingredients. Click here for a list.
New Amsterdam Market has helped incubate or support the growth of numerous regional food businesses such as those depicted here.
Key to the sucess of any market is a staunch commitment to transparency. The New York City Greenmarket has long maintained a rigorous site-visit and inspection system to ensure that participating vendors are selling only what they grow or harvest and abiding by all other market rules. As a nascent organization, New Amsterdam Market has not yet had the resources to provide similar enforcement, but we nonetheless fostered an initial environment of transparency by conducting in-depth vendor recruitment interviews, retaining only those with deep knowledge and concern for the foods they source, and encouraging market participants to openly list their ingredient sources on their Stall Blackboard, another New Amsterdam Market innovation. We also began developing the concept of a Vendor Manifest, to be displayed prominently at every market stall.
Draft Vendor Manifest for Vermont Bean Crafters: Saxelby Cheesemongers blackboard; Source list by Lonestar Taco
FOOD FESTIVALS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Since its inception, New Amsterdam Market has hosted numerous thematic events designed to introduce New Yorkers and visitors to the emerging regional food system; and to revive the notion of food festivals tied to the passing seasons and our connection to the natural environment. Notable market events include New Amsterdam Market Founding (October 2005) Wintermarket I (December 2007); Bread Pavilion I (June 2008); Founded on Oyster Shells (February 2009); Quadricentennial Market & The Hudson's Bounty (September 2009); Two Master Butchers (October 2009); A Winter Night's Banquet (March 2010); City of Merchants (May 2010); First Ice Cream Sunday (August 2010); A Hudson Valley Harvest* (October 2010); The Rye Bread Project and Smørrebrød Table, with the Consulate General of Denmark (November 2010); Coffee & Cocoa Importers Market (December 2010); New York State Winemarket (December 2010); The South Street Oyster Saloon (April 2011); Floralia (May 2011); Ice Cream Sunday II (August 2011); A Hard Cider Revival I* (October 2011); Peck Slip Pickle Festival (November 2011); The First Gathering of Fisheries (December 2011); Bread Pavilion II (April 2012); International Meats Local (May 2012); The Second Gathering of Fisheries (May 2012); The Great Northeastern Bean Exchange (June 2012); Cheese Market and Dairy Fair (June 2012); East River Moon Festival (September 2012); A Hard Cider Revival 2* (October 2012); Post-Sandy Peck Slip Pickle Festival (November 2012);Bread Pavilion III (June 2013); and The Third Gathering of Fisheries (October 2013).
*Events Held in collaboration with Glynwood
click image below for a high-resolution .pdf
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO REAL FOOD
One of society's great challenges is to make nutritious, ecologically sustainable food available and affordable to all. Among the many incremental approaches towards this aim is the acceptance of "food stamps" (Snap - EBT) at farmers markets or similar public markets where local, fresh ingredients are sold. New Amsterdam Market is proud to have worked with the New York City Council to introduce our own form of EBT currency, which was inaugurated at the Rye Bread Project - Smørrebrød Table in November 2010.
The aim of the Rye Bread Project is to explore how food can be used to shape our lives, improve our health, contribute to environmental sustainability and enhance our overall well-being while fostering Livesglaede --a Danish term translatable as "the joy of life."
The important act of buying and selling food should be a joyful and beautiful experience connecting production on the farm to consumption at the communal table; even the currency used in the transaction plays a role in enhancing understanding and providing cultural resonance. New Amsterdam Market's EBT Currency was designed to be relevant to the large non-English speaking population in Chinatown, which borders the market site in Lower Manhattan and includes many elderly residents who rely on EBT benefits. The rear side depicts Het Veer - "The Ferry" - established in 1642 to carry farmers and their goods from Brooklyn to Peck Slip in the Market District, an important node in New York City's nascent regional food system. (Note the cattle on the ferry, a flat-bottomed barge of Dutch design.)