Strength2Food held its first Polish hybrid forum on Saturday, 17 July 2018. The meeting took place in Płońsk, a town in Mazovia region, located 70 km from Warsaw. The discussion focused on the tradition and future of the farmers’ market in Płońsk. With more than half a century of tradition, the local farmers’ market takes place twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, in an open-space square in the heart of Płońsk. However, there are ongoing discussion on whether the market should be moved to a more convenient and larger space, with better parking facilities. Plus, more investment is necessary to improve its functioning and facilities.
The first part of the hybrid forum saw the participation of an expert panel consisting of different stakeholder representatives: the city council, including the mayor, the departments for municipal investment and food markets, the farmers selling on the market, consumers and residents of neighbouring streets. The seven experts’ panel had a productive round-table discussion covering all potential aspects of farmers market organisation and management, identifying suggestions for the future and pointing at investment possibilities.
After a break, the second part of the hybrid forum began, calling in a wider audience, with representatives from citizens, farmers and traders selling on the farmers market to anyone interested on the topic under discussion. The debate was very dynamic and many ideas regarding the improvement of the farmers local market were put forward. The citizens, farmers and municipality representatives agreed on the fact that the current traditional location of the market is convenient for all parties. However, some investments are needed in order to make it more functional – including possible roof coverage, stands, and, in particular, a larger car park.