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OFF Market, for a More Responsible Christmas.

Published on 13 December 2023

The 8th edition of the OFF Market has taken over Place Grimmeissen in Petite France. Organic and local products, art objects, upcycled clothing, and second-hand toys: this is what you can find at this Christmas market like no other...

A joyful and quirky atmosphere reigns at the OFF Market. In its open studio, radio RBS discusses hip-hop while Arte focuses on the guardians of the forest. Adventurous souls have already been tempted by Domaine Durrmann's mulled wine with mirabelle jam, while others rush for the traditional gratinated tarte flambée to warm up. Even though containers have replaced wooden chalets, the OFF Market does not disregard traditions but reinvents them for a more responsible holiday season. Over 30 social and solidarity economy structures are present to offer visitors an alternative way of consuming.

Original Gifts

In this spirit, the OFF Market features local creations highlighted by the Creative Vintage association. "All our products come from craftsmanship and/or second-hand, 100% made in Alsace," shares Jeff Loth, development manager of the association and coordinator of the container. Each week, visitors can discover new local creators, a great way to increase the visibility of these Alsatian talents. Examples include cyanotype illustrations, glasses made from Alsace wine bottles, polymer clay jewelry, and original clothing made from second-hand fabrics. Creative Vintage will also sell its own creations on-site: roses made from coffee pods, fabric decorations for the Christmas tree, disco balls, wallets, fabric dish covers, and small angels made from badminton shuttles. These eclectic creations show how it is possible to adapt our consumption habits! "We are very committed to reuse, recycling, and anti-waste issues," adds Jeff Loth.

Children's Paradise

When it comes to games, books, and other toys for children, the idea is also not to engage in endless and meaningless consumption. The Carijou association's container offers plenty of them, but second-hand! Carried by the Caritas Alsace Charity Federation, this association also offers second-hand toys in its Strasbourg and Bischwiller shops. These toys come from donations from individuals, companies, and communities. If necessary, they are fully refurbished by the association for the children's greatest pleasure! Present at the OFF Christmas Market for several years, Carijou sees its popularity grow and attracts more and more new customers. Beyond families in financial difficulty, the association now attracts a new audience sensitive to environmental preservation. Although Carijou is mainly known as a supplier of second-hand toys, its action goes beyond ecological issues. "Our mission is to hire people who have distanced themselves from the job market," explains Serge Rué, head of service at Carijou Strasbourg. By training them for a job, Carijou allows them to resume activity and regain confidence. The goal? That they eventually secure a permanent contract, a fixed-term contract of more than 6 months, or even training.

Pur Coop, Eating Differently

A Christmas market wouldn't be complete without its share of treats! The OFF Market offers its visitors the culinary creations of the cooperative "Pur Coop." A 100% plant-based, organic, zero-waste, seasonal, local, and homemade offer. "Our offer is entirely in line with the social and solidarity economy," explains Vincent Viard, administrative and technical manager at Pur Coop. On the menu, you can choose between a Christmas hot dog made up of sauerkraut, onion confit, and a vegetable sausage, a mushroom poutine, and a vegetable currywurst. For dessert, Pur Coop delights us with its sweet waffles, donuts, peanut butter brownie, and carrot cake. And for those who wish to continue this culinary experience, Vincent invites them to visit the three restaurants of the cooperative, all located in the Eurometropolis. There is Origin, the plant-based coffee shop located on Grand Rue, La Bouture, the living canteen located on Presqu'île Malraux, and L’Ancrage Café, at Kaleidoscoop.

To Snack on Your Sofa

And if the urge seizes some to fill their bags with "Made in Alsace" delicacies, the OFF Market offers a multitude of sweet delights. First, there are the 100% "bean to bar" chocolate bars from Cacao Expérience. This chocolate expert combines gustatory pleasure with local anchoring for his customers. We continue with Chanvr’eel and Carat’eel, which offers many products made from organic Alsatian hemp. Teas, beers, oils, soaps, balms: everything is done in a short circuit, in Ostwald. Finally, head to the dome of the Colecosol Grand Est collective. This space presents the teas and infusions of Les Jardins de Gaïa, the coffees of Maison Sati, the chocolates of Artisans du Monde, as well as the organic/fair trade clothing from the Vet Ethic cooperative boutique.

The OFF Market wants to be more than just a Christmas market. Its exhibitors want to raise awareness! Each at their level, with their passion, convictions, know-how... They have in common the desire to show that another way of life is possible. A life that is more responsible and respectful of people and their environment.

Mélanie Jehl.