Local produce markets are unique spaces where knowledge and understanding of the values and processes associated with food production and local economy are both traded and freely shared. A study of a range of traditional and newly established markets was undertaken to investigate the contention that they are hubs of food production where performances of place based food cultures facilitate informal and lasting exchanges of traditional understandings of foods and drink. Adopting a participative approach along-side more traditional methods of research required significant reflection on the practitioner-researcher position and their influence throughout the study methodology, analysis and dissemination of findings to all stakeholders.
The markets' differing administrative contexts and governance-funding-policy systems were considered and also the experiences of the market visitors. The paper describes how local food markets should be valorized as significant repositories of irreplaceable social capital and distinctive food heritage. The paper concludes by evaluating the functionality of such places of food significance and local community based economy. This strongly suggests the merit of continued support for local agora or food hubs - a development which is not implicit within the broader political and industry context of the Food from Wales for Wales Action Plan.