This site is managed by Dan Brody. It grew out of work I did for the proposed Boston Museum, which hoped to build a Boston history museum on a downtown site owned by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The request for site proposals issued by MassDOT in 2011 required that the ground floor of whatever was built on the site would have a market that would become part of the “market district.” The district consists of the Boston Public Market and the Haymarket Pushcart Market.
The museum’s proposal would have made its ground floor market area available for use by Haymarket Pushcart Market vendors on their traditional market days, Friday and Saturday. Further, the museum’s proposal stated that
On Sunday through Thursday the ground floor will be the Boston Community Marketplace, with vendors from Boston’s diverse ethnic communities selling grocery staples and other packaged foods, fresh foods, and traditional ready-to-eat items. The Marketplace won’t compete with the Haymarket pushcart vendors or with nearby ethnic groceries (whether in the North End, Chinatown, or on the opposite side of Blackstone Street), but will instead offer food not now available in downtown Boston. The range of vendors represented in the Marketplace will include long-established immigrants (e.g., Irish, Portuguese) as well as more recent arrivals (e.g., Brazilians, Indians, Cambodians). The market stalls will be operated by these community members.
The proposed Community Marketplace would have been a living extension of one of the museum’s five main galleries, which was to focus on “Boston as a crossroads of cultures and identities.”
However, the museum’s bid was unsuccessful, so I decided to use my research on ethnic markets in Boston and on public markets around the world to create this website. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I decided to greatly expand the website. I realized that ethnic markets were struggling because in an age of food delivery apps people can easily forget about the world markets in their communities. I wanted this site to serve as a resource to connect people with their local markets. The current structure of the website was built in WordPress by Scott Lewis of Lewis Studios.
In prior lives, I’ve been director of the Texas House Research Organization, deputy budget director of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, chief financial officer of the Harvard Kennedy School, vice president for The Keefe Company, field operations reporting director of Sen. Ed Markey’s campaigns in 2013 and 2020, Financial Advisor of the Unitarian Universalist Association, treasurer of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and consultant to Field First LLC and Raise Up Massachusetts.
This portrait, copyright © 2019 by Charmaine Wheatley and used here by permission of the artist, was painted at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The original is included in a permanent exhibit of Wheatley’s portraits at the museum, where she became an artist in residence in 2012. You can learn about Wheatley’s work on the Gardner Museum website.