Public markets are as old as civilization itself, and once were a vital part of the lifeblood of cities throughout the United States. In the last half of the 20th century, however, public policy and the rush to modernization all but eliminated the tradition of urban markets — a trend that, thanks to the work of organizations like the Project for Public Spaces and Slow Food International, is beginning to be reversed. Check out Slow Food's Earth Markets.
Markets are still an integral part of daily life throughout much of the world, from simple fruit and vegetable stands in rural Latin America and seafood markets in Southeast Asia to the vibrant neighborhood markets of Paris and Montreal. Some are streamlined and efficient, others wild and chaotic, but they're all a good window into the life of a community and its social and economic health.
Just as we encourage New Orleans visitors to make the Crescent City farmers Market part of their travel plans, we urge travelers everywhere to seek out public markets wherever their wanderlust takes them. Learn about your destination by participating in its time-honored market traditions, and help spread the love of good, local food around the world!