Your escape from rackety markets and contaminated groceries
Weekend bazaar is a traditional practice in Bangladesh, especially in the rural areas, where growers gather with their garden-fresh green groceries and other homemade goods once in a week. From hand-carved wooden furniture to local ‘Ghani Bhanga’ mustard oil or delicious homemade pithas - these weekend bazaars offer it all. It’s not just the fresh goods that are the only attraction of these markets, rather it also serves as a customary venue for socializing.
The strive for modernization has diminished the number of these weekend markets around the country to a great extent, replacing them with permanent grocery shops and air-conditioned brand stores. Meanwhile, with omnipresent toxic and poisonous food adulterations and formalin contamination, Dhaka’s bazaars have emerged as a great ordeal to its residents, putting the welfare of millions in jeopardy and making fresh green groceries a far cry in the city.
“Bazaars have become a nightmare in Dhaka,” says Foysal Islam, the Design and Media Coordinator of MIB Spirit Ltd. “Firstly because, people are being forced to compromise their welfare everyday by buying contaminated and adulterated food items. And then, there’s the unbearable racket.”
“There’s only a handful of alternatives in Dhaka where you can pick up some fresh and healthy groceries in a leisurely environment,” he adds.
With a view to become a wholesome alternative to the enervating bazaars and contaminated green groceries, MIB Spirit Ltd recently launched a weekend farmers’ market at Dhanmondi that offers green groceries with the same verdure of the rustic weekend markets. “Our vision is to provide the shoppers with an alternative space, where they can buy organic garden-fresh vegetables directly delivered from the farmers, while sipping a cup of coffee or even reading a book,” said Foysal, reinstating the company’s commitment to green and all natural products.
Titled ‘Weekend Spirit’, the bazaar is essentially an ensemble of vendors, who sell everything from vegetables to aromatherapy oils, fashion accessories, potted plants and books. Among the vendors currently attending the market, NeoFarmers offer a big range of handpicked food items, including varieties of rice, spices from all corners of the country, homemade spreads and their own brewed oils.
“You can buy the products we sell from virtually any other bazaars in Dhaka, but what makes us stand out is the quality and organic nature of our products,” a NeoFarmers representative said, adding that within three months of their inauguration, the company has garnered wide popularity among consumers. “Doctors comprise a large portion of their stable customer base,” he claimed denoting the purity and health-giving benefits of their products.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARRI) also joins the Weekend Spirit to showcase and sell allegedly 100% organic and chemical free vegetables grown in the fields of Mymensingh as part of a project of the government entity.
According to Shamim Hossain, a sales representative of BARRI, a number of 85 families currently produce the vegetables using completely natural means and no chemical fertilizers. “We pick the vegetables from the fields early in the morning from Mymensingh and start for Dhaka,” Shamim said. He added that the demand is growing as half of their vegetables get sold within an hour of opening. “Joggers tend to flock in early morning to the market to buy their weekly supply of vegetables and legumes and the number of our customers are growing every week.”
Alongside the groceries, there are also stalls selling potted plants, bags, hand-madejewelries, traditional Thami and Muslin clothings, books and so on at the lush Dhanmondi outlet of MIB Spirit. Biskut Factory, Dakpion, Shishu Polli and Sarin’s are some of the popular outlets that have joined the Weekend Spirit so far.
“We’ll keep expanding our market as the demand for the products are increasing every week. Gradually, we are transforming Weekend Spirit into a platform that’s not only a market where you can get unwilted groceries and vegetables, but also a weekend destination to reflect and have a pleasant leisure time,” said Foysal.