Farmer’s market Náplavka at Rašínovo nábřeží in Prague 2 will celebrate its 10th birthday on February the 2nd. During its existence the number of sellers has quadrupled. More and more people shop at our farmer’s markets.
The first farmer’s market at Rašínovo nábřeží happened 10 years ago. “Even before we started organising farmer’s markets at Náplavka, in 2009, my friend Daniel and I were standing at Náplavka. It was Saturday and the Náplavka was empty. There were swans swimming in the river, in the distance you could see a fisherman sitting in an old boat and there were a few cyclists passing by. I told myself that it will take a lot of work to make Náplavka a place, that will help farmers and the citizens of Prague, just as we wanted it,” says Jiří Sedláček, the chairman of the Archetyp group. He founded the farmer’s market Náplavka and he still runs it.
Not many people believed that Náplavka could be filled with life. Inspiration came from Germany and the USA. “There were other people who tried to organise farmer’s markets at Rašínovo nábřeží before, but they all went bankrupt. At the beginning, even farmers were unsure and we had to convince them for a long time. But we believed strongly in the concept. There was a shortage of fresh food in bioquality from Czech producers. Czech farmers and producers were struggling as well, because there were few people buying their products. We chose Náplavka because it allowed farmers to park their refrigerated vehicles, which is very important for fresh produce. This makes Náplavka the ideal place to buy the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables. Farmer’s markets in Berlin and in the center of New York City, in Union square for example, operate on the same concept,” said Šárka Sedláčková, who also helps with organising the farmer’s markets.
From the beginning, the organizers had one goal. They wanted to create a place with good quality farmer’s products as well as a place where people could come together and meet each other. “We want the farmer’s market to help people living in Prague as well as farmers. We want this to be a meeting place between people that wouldn’t normally meet. The farmer’s market helps to preserve traditional knowledge and ways of creating products that have been created and passed down from person to person over generations. It also promotes creativity in people,” added Alena Bžochová, a part of the Archetyp group.
Live music is also a part of the farmer’s market at Náplavka. There is a wide variety of people who perform at Náplavka, from buskers to professional musicians. One of the first performers that performed here was the soul and blues band called The Brownies. “The farmer’s market at Náplavka is a long-term and emotional commitment for us. Even during the winter months, the people create a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. It is like a safe harbour for us,” said Pavel Rohlena, the singer on behalf of the band.
At the beginning, there were 28 sellers. This number has grown to about 90 to 100 regular sellers, who arrive every Saturday between 8:00 and 14:00 from February until December to sell their products. Some farmers have been a part of the market since the beginning. Milk Krasolesí, biofarm Pěnčín, plants and cabbage Jansovi or trout farm Vacek to name a few.
“For me, this was something completely new. Until then, we only sold our products at the farm, where customers excused the occasional unprofessionality,” said David Kolman from Milk Krasolesí to comment on his 10 years of selling at the market. “Náplavka made it possible to advertise our products, communicate with our customers and a stable selling place that is important for the existence of our bio farm. We met many interesting people, who are our loyal customers. Many of these people now visit us at the farm,” says the owner of Biofarm Pěnčín Josef Pulíček.
“Back then, I did not expect the farmer’s market at Náplavka to become such an important and pleasant event for us. It is a very unique event, where people can meet, which is very important in this day and age. There have been friendships created between organisers, sellers and customers. I have immediate feedback from customers. We know the customer’s families and hobbies. We let children of our customers watch the trout from up close, while parents can go shop or get themselves a coffee,” described Jiří Vacek from Trout farm Vacek.
Charity projects also have a place at Náplavka. They can present their work for free here. Over the last 10 years, there have been many projects. For example, “Kuchařky bez domova” – a project that is made up of women that have experience with homelessness, or “Záchranná stanice Lesů hlavního města Prahy pro volně žijící živočichy” (A rescue station for wild animals living in Prague’s forests). Sheltered workshops can also sell their products, for example “Dílny tvořivosti” from Prague 2. “Being at the farmer’s market at Náplavka allowed us to meet with people who wouldn’t have learnt about us otherwise. Many people know is from these markets and then they decide to visit our bistro.” Says Lenka Vrbová from “Kuchařky bez domova”.
Farmer’s markets at Náplavka are still trying to improve. Last year, returnable plastic cups for cold beverages. From March 2019, reusable cups for warm beverages will also be added into the system “Otoč kelímek”, that customers can return at any coffee shop that participates in the program. Beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks are drafted into glass, returnable plastic cups or into the customer’s own containers. During this year, refreshments and snacks will be served only on dishes made from natural products, porcelain or into the customers’ containers. Organizers also want to arrange for the products to be sold in paper bags, instead of plastic bags.