The Algarve Regional Network of Local Markets has already been born

Nova Rede shows that there are «Million things that connect us»

Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação

There are 18 markets in eight municipalities in the Algarve and are now part of the Regional Network of Local Markets, which was presented this Sunday afternoon in Silves. The first phase of the project is almost over, but a second phase is coming.

The project encompasses, for now, the Markets of Sagres, Vila do Bispo, Aljezur, Odeceixe, Almádena, Odiáxere, Barão de São João, Bensafrim, Espiche, Monchique, Alvor, Silves, São Bartolomeu de Messines, Alcantarilha, Pêra, Algoz, Moncarapacho and São Brás de Alportel, which are now united in a common project, with a homogeneous brand image.

These are spaces of varying sizes, managed by Municipal Councils, Parish Councils and, in one case, by a municipal company.

Financed by funds from PADRE (Action Plan for the Development of Endogenous Resources), this Regional Network project aims, in essence, to “find alternative ways to bring people to the markets”, as highlighted by Márcio Viegas, president of Vicentina – Association for Southwest Development, the entity that coordinates the entire process.

This is because, in recent years, municipal markets – or squares, as they are known in many locations – have been losing customers to large supermarkets, which have opening hours more adapted to current life, abundant and free parking, as well as a greater variety of products. Now, the idea is to reverse this state of affairs.

As explained by Aura Fraga, director of Vicentina, through this network of local markets, the aim is to contribute «to the valorization of local agricultural, livestock and agri-food production», as well as «encouraging traditional arts and crafts», publicizing them and promoting them.

The project began with the rehabilitation of some of the spaces that make up the network, but it also involves the creation of a common brand image, a website that concentrates all the information, but where each market has its own space, and also the promotion of communication and entertainment actions in the markets and the professional qualifications of those who work there.


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


The Network's presentation took place at the Silves Municipal Market, which was recently the target of extensive renovation works, precisely within the same project. Like this, the small local market of Barão de São João (in the interior of the municipality of Lagos) also underwent works that are already ready, while the São Bartolomeu de Messines (Silves) and Odiáxere (Lagos) Markets are nearing completion. of their requalifications.

Pedro Valadas Monteiro, regional director of Agriculture and Fisheries, who participated in the official launch of the Network, made a point of highlighting that the Silves Market is «a good example of what should be done» and argued that the markets, as they are closer to the populations, should focus on short circuits, selling mainly local production, that is, «pulling the Algarve's assets».

José Apolinário, president of the Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR) of the Algarve, the entity that manages community funds, particularly those that support the creation of this Market Network, also spoke about “short circuits between producer and consumer, from the prado to the plate”, even to respond to “new consumer demands reinforced post-pandemic”.

But, as “it is not enough to have good facilities to attract customers”, the project involves creating a brand (developed by KOBU Agency, based in Faro).

Nuno Tenazinha, from Kobu, presented this new visual identity, which is based on graphic elements from all 18 markets, highlighting the blue color, very Algarvian. Even though there is a common graphic image, each space still has its own image. The end result is very contemporary, although strongly anchored in tradition.

Nuno Tenazinha, who explained the creative process in detail, summarized the essence of this Algarve Regional Market Network: essentially, it is «18 markets that come together to reach new audiences».

Or, using the phrase that is the Network's slogan, they are «M things that connect us».


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


Yes, because we no longer go to the market just to buy fresh fish of the day, fruits and vegetables and meat. Markets are increasingly places where various products from a given region are for sale, from honey to medronho, from homemade bread baked in a wood oven to wines, from preserves to jams, from sausages to gastronomy, from the most traditional sweets to sweets that innovate using local products. And they are also the places – or are intended to be – where you buy handicrafts or even pieces of art, where you listen to music or even have a dance, where you taste good cheese or a tasty xarém.

All this lively with music, dance, theater, puppets and Dom Robertos, exhibitions, competitions, demonstrations and gastronomic tastings, conversations. So says Tito Coelho, president of the Parish Council of Silves, the entity that manages the city's market and which promoted the initiative there last September After Hours Market, which had all this and more. «People need to get used to coming to the market again, whether to do their shopping or for other things», explained the mayor, speaking to Sul Informação.

On Sunday afternoon, Mercado de Silves opened its doors to markets across the Algarve that are already part of the networks. And, in addition to the signing of the protocol that unites all entities participating in the project, there was an exhibition and tasting of many products, as well as an exhibition and sale of handicrafts.

At the end, after the Albufeira Firefighters' Fanfare brought music to the Market's corridors, Algarve wines were sampled and caldo verde, cockle xarém, alguidar meat and other snacks were eaten.

The next phase involves the regular promotion of events and activities, some of which are really out of hours, to attract traditional customers, but also new customers to local markets. Soon the Sul Informação will give you news about this animation program.

The first phase of the project ends at the end of the year, because this date also marks the end of the CRESC Algarve 2020 financing cycle, which the PADRE program was part of. Márcio Viegas, president of Vicentina, argued that “it makes perfect sense to have a PADRE II”.

In response, José Apolinário, president of CCDR Algarve, gave good news: «by March, April, we will put out the first warning of the new FATHER», so that the first contracts for this financing can take place “during next year”.

And now? “Let’s go to the Market”?


Photos: Elisabete Rodrigues | Sul Informação


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