In Berlin, it took a while for farm-to-table eating to take hold — artists don’t spend much money on food. But the revival of the historic Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg is slowly changing the way Berliners understand where their food comes from. Five years ago the run down but beautiful 19th century brick hall was filled with chain shops like Kik and Aldi, and a hangout spot for local derelicts. When the city announced a plan to sell it to developers, the neighborhood protested. In 2010 it was turned over to three partners who after a year of renovation work, reopened it as a market with a social vision beyond just food.
We met one of those founders, Nicolas Driesen, at the hall, a soaring industrial space with concrete floors, turquoise painted metal beams and aged mustard brick walls.