Boston has a grocery market you'll be jealous of, and it's not owned by a giant corporation.

Farmers markets are fun, but let's admit it: Sometimes it's just easier to go the supermarket.

Most farmers markets only setup shop once or twice a week for just a few hours at a time. They're always fun to visit, of course, and the atmosphere from the buzzing crowds and live music certainly add to the experience. But they're not always convenient in terms of time or location, and you're left at the whim at whatever food just happens to be at that particular farmers market on that specific day. (This is especially true if, like me, you live in the frigid Northeast).

Sure, you tell yourself you like to shop local — we all wanna support the community, right? — but, well, Stop & Shop is always there and is always stocked with everything you need (unless you're looking for asparagus water, in which case, I'm sure there's a Whole Foods right around the corner).


But there's good news for my fellow Bostonians: We can now buy locally-sourced and independent foodstuff all year round in one convenient spot.

The brand new Boston Public Market is the “most local" food market in America (not to be confused with Boston Market, formerly known as Boston Chicken, which is not).

Located right in the heart of downtown Boston, the Market houses 37 different vendors, selling everything from farm-fresh produce to grass-fed meat and poultry to wine and beer and coffee and chocolate and even a few craft artisans.

All photos by Thom Dunn/Upworthy.

Every single vendor comes from independent companies based right in New England ( the average distance from the farms to the market is 30 miles). Even the interior of the building was constructed from recycled, donated New England barn board, and it's managed by the Boston Public Market Association, a locally-run and independent nonprofit organization, in partnership with the city of Boston.

Inside you'll find everything from giant carrots, onions, potatoes, and apples.

And fancy Italian artisan cheeses.

There's even a literal chocolate bar, which is exactly what it sounds like.

The Boston Public Market puts working-class people at the center of history (and the tourist industry).

Did you know that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $48 of that gets recycled right back into the local economy? Chain stores, meanwhile, only end up giving about $14 out of every $100 back to the community (mostly just in the form of employee wages).

That's one of the most wonderful parts about the Boston Public Market: It's not just selling fresh, local food and employing local retail staff, it's a self-sustaining economic stimulus for the entire community.

The Market is in the heart of Boston's tourist district, meaning even out-of-towners will probably find themselves there.

The Market is located right next to Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market, which is essentially the tourist epicenter for the city of Boston. Which, like most tourist spots, is more of a recreation of local life than it is someplace where local people actually go (it does have some cool historical pedigree, though).

But Boston Public Market provides tourists with a much more authentic vision of the hard-working people who make up the whole New England region and ensures the money those tourists spend directly supports those very same people.

Ye Olde New Englande Cidre Presse. Photo by Lord Thomas Padraig Theodosius Dunn the 1st of Bostonia/Upworthy.

But The Market isn't just about making money. It's about making good food available for everyone, regardless of the cost.

Look, getting some of that tourist money back into the local economy is great. Tourists are there to spend on one-time treats. But tourists and middle- to upper-class locals aren't the only consumers the Market is trying to invite in.

People who use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits can shop here as well, meaning both local vendors and local consumers (of all socioeconomic backgrounds) benefit from the Boston Public Market.


LOOK AT ALL THOSE VEGGIES. Sorry this one is a little blurry, I got excited.

In addition to accepting SNAP benefits, the Boston Bounty Bucks program offers a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10 for families who rely on assisted living programs when they shop at certain farmers markets, including the Boston Public Market.

Families who use SNAP benefits can spend $10 on some cheap, over-processed canned meals at Stop & Shop or spend $20 on fresh, local, organic food at the farmers market and provide their families with wholesome, delicious, and much more nutritious meals (plus that $20 goes to support local food workers and stimulate the local economy, which is a nice added bonus).

In the press release announcing the program, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh called the program “a defining moment for food accessibility in the City of Boston. Not only will this partnership increase access to healthy, fresh food for Boston residents, but it will also stimulate our local economy while supporting area farmers."

WORD, Marty. WORD. I knew I liked you for a reason ( even if you did declare Godsmack Day last summer).

While the Boston Public Market is currently the only one of its kind, hopefully other cities will soon follow suit.

Massachusetts has a history of leading the country in progressive values, from marriage equality to universal health care to the Red Sox (OK, c'mon, I had to). American culture largely has been shifting from the anonymous big chain model back to the idea of " slow food" and wholesome, hand-crafted artisan cuisines that emphasize local and ethical ingredients.

There's no reason other cities can't start their own public markets just like the one in Boston — instead of, say, building another Whole Foods to complete the wave of gentrification (eerily, the photo in that link is actually my neighborhood Whole Foods). Let's get back to building communities that support sustainable living and each other.

Not to pat ourselves on the back too too much, but if Boston can put up with 4 to 6 feet of snow each winter and still get a public market up and running by the summer, you other cities have no excuse not to do the same.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Woman shares breakup letter to foot before amputation.

It's amazing how even the most harrowing of decisions can be transformed with a good sense of humor.

After suffering an ankle injury during a horseback riding accident at age 13, Jo Beckwith had exhausted all other options to escape from the lingering pain from the fracture, leaving her with no better choice than to amputate.

She could have buckled under the weight of such life-altering news (no one would blame her). Instead, Jo threw a farewell party the day before her surgery. Some of her friends showed up to write a goodbye letter, fun and lighthearted messages scribbled directly onto the ankle.

@footlessjo

The messages that came into #amputation with me! #funny #therapeutic #disability #amputee #fypシ


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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."