07_10_111 Megan Townsend – Community Selection

My selected community is the urban market, and more specifically,
the dwindling East End market trader.

 

Not only will this be focused on the history of the East End
as a centre for the start and growth of the market trade, but also a look into
the loss of spirit of the market since these times. These markets were once a
hub for the ‘common’ person, a meeting place and legitimate method of making an
honest living; they have now become a trendy epicentre of the yuppie community.
An attraction rather than a necessity; due to the monopolies that have sprung
up, interestingly so in the case of Tesco itself, directly from the early east
end markets, that now cast their so called, (or portrayed) ‘convenience shadow’
over the tradition of the East End. We as a consumer society have lost our sensual
understanding of food, people and our surroundings. I propose we re-connect.

 

As Wendell Berry himself said; ‘the good life includes sustainable agriculture, appropriate technologies, healthy rural communities,
connection to place, the pleasures of good food, husbandry,
good work, local economics, the miracle of life, fidelity, frugality,
reverence, and the interconnectedness of life.’ A good and successful market can
encapsulate many of the above.

 

When searching for facts and figures relating to the East
End market, though, very few are to be found, unless you delve back in time to
when they were a large and recordable part of the society and its participants.
This means the study will have to become more anthropological, to understand
the market and its cultures.

 

My interest initially is the ephemeral nature of
the market and its community, as well as the lack of spirit that has developed
within a society that no longer seems comfortable with the notion of ‘small
time’ selling. As Shakespeare wrote in Antony and Cleopatra; ‘I’ the east my
pleasure lies’. The environmentally aware city worker operating within the London
borough of Hackney, with a clear view to re-instate the ‘grow and sell’
mentality of the East End. The creation and distribution of the ‘Grow-Your-Own’
co-operative.

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