2014 sees the growth of interest in the ecology movement in Silesia. After Mikolow and Katowice started to cultivate weekly ecological bazaars, EkoJarmark was opened in Bytom just last week, and other cities are reported to be about to follow the trend.
The idea is simple: to widen the scope of ecological awareness among as many people as possible. Silesia seems to be a pretty tough target at that point – considering its history in past decades, it has never been environmental-friendly or focused on healthy food distribution. Although, 21st century has entered a post-industrialized era and met several changes in both perception and attitude, especially from Polish people who finally got freed from the post-communist ways of thinking. In the result, they started to make their food and health-related choices more carefully and – most importantly – more consciously. That clearly gave a big boost to all organic farming entrepreneurs.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry and meat, fish, dairy products such as milk, cheese, eggs, cereal, flour, rice, beans, coffee, tea, juice, sweets and pastries, even wine – all that, and even more, is available to buy at all three ecological markets in Silesia. Mikolow’s Silesian Botanical Garden started the trend at the end of 2013, and puts their products each Sunday; BioBazar, originally from Warsaw, gathers every Saturday in Katowice’s Huta Baildon; Bytom’s Green Education society’s initiative EkoJarmark made its debut last Wednesday on Sobieski’s Square.
According to Mikolow’s EkoBazar, Polish organic food market is worth around 600 milion PLN and will continue to grow over next two decades; annually, in comparison with traditional food market, it’s growing from 20 to 30 percent. Even though, Poles, especially those from smaller cities, still have limited access to healthy and ‘eco’ products which are mostly being imported from Germany or Czech Republic. That’s where the bazaar idea steps in: in order to cover the growing demand of certified, unprocessed and non-GM food, numerous organic food producers meet in one place and sell their products every week. It works out well for both sides: producers, who got a chance not only to sell but also to promote their brand to the larger audience, and the customers, who can choose from many products all gathered in one place.
Apart from enthusiastic reviews of modern approach to healthy eating habits, there are, of course, quite few voices of critique too. Most frequently heard argument is that organic food Is far more expensive than the ‘regular’ products. That makes it accessible only to those who can pay two or even three times higher price for unprocessed, freely run eggs. In the face of social inequality it might sound as a serious accusation, on the other hand – ecological production takes more time and effort, creating more jobs, especially in rural areas, so higher prices seem to be understandable yet not available to everyone.
Eco bazars in Silesia: