Living a Healthy, Local Life
A feast for the eyes, ears, and stomach greets visitors at the Boston Public Market (BPM) in the city’s historic district. Bounties of farm-fresh produce, fish and meats, baked goods, and cheeses catch the eye. Dozens of vendors tidy their goods and chat up shoppers, while people of all ages and ethnicities sit down for a quick meal in the dining area.
The BPM is Boston’s latest must-see destination, and it opened last summer with the support of public and private sponsors, including Blue Cross. More than a farmer’s market or supermarket, the BPM is the nation’s first permanent, indoor food market with a mandate to sell only fresh, locally sourced food.
Boston Public Market is for people who are interested in living a healthy, local life. Connecting the person who grew the food with the person who is buying it is part of the magic of a public market.
– Liz Morningstar, BPM founding CEO
BPM founding CEO Liz Morningstar points out that the market promotes environmental sustainability, local economic development, and healthy eating. Equally important, it is committed to ensuring equal access for people of all income levels. All vendors accept electronic payments from low-income shoppers with federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.
“We draw a crowd with a type of diversity I haven’t seen in other Boston institutions. It’s a neutral civic space shared by people of all backgrounds, and I love it for that,” Liz says.
Nestled in the corner of the market is the BPM Kitchen, a 3,200-square-foot educational space for cooking demos, family activities, and community events. Programming is led by The Trustees of Reservations, the largest private owner of farmland in Massachusetts, with Blue Cross as its health and wellness partner.
“Blue Cross got behind BPM when it was just an idea, and I think that reveals a true entrepreneurial spirit,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees president and CEO. The Trustees and Blue Cross co-sponsor two educational series that are free and open to the public:
- Taste of the Season: a weekly event where experts share how food is grown and processed and offer advice on food preparation and storage. Guests might sample seasonal products sold in the BPM, such as fruits, vegetables, edible flowers, bread, chocolate, and more.
- Healthy lifestyle programming: a mixed-format, monthly presentation led by guest chefs, cookbook authors, and even food filmmakers. Topics might cover packing healthy kids’ lunches, winter soup making, and fish farms.