Chicago Wins Grant to Support Farmers Markets in Food Deserts

October 17, 2014

Funds Will Support Farmers Markets in Pullman, Austin and Englewood

Christine Carrino    312.744.0573

Mary May    312.744.0576

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) $88,908 in competitive grant funds to support the Chicago Farmers Markets. The Farmers Market Promotion Program grant will support three DCASE markets: the Pullman Farmers Market at Arcadia Park, 11132 S. St. Lawrence Avenue; Austin Farmers Market at Austin Town Hall Park, 5610 W. Lake Street; and Englewood Farmers Market at Anchor House, 1230 W. 76th Street.

“This investment will benefit local agriculture and improve access to healthy foods,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “And beyond supporting farmers markets in food deserts, this also serves as an investment in neighborhood gathering places and community development.”

The USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program makes annual investments in marketing and promotion activities for farmers markets, community supported agriculture programs and other direct producer-to-consumer outlets for local food. These investments represent the USDA’s commitment to strengthen organic and local and regional food systems through projects that recruit and train farmers, expand economic opportunities and increase access to healthy food.

All three benefiting Chicago markets are existing market sites and are located in “low income/low access census tract” areas as defined by the USDA. The Englewood site is the newest having started just this 2014 season. This award will be used to increase availability and consumption of healthy, regionally-sourced agricultural products and cultivate attendance at each market through marketing and programming, including two Chicago Farmers Forums, the first of which will be held this November.

“Chicagoans understand the importance of eating healthy but also, buying locally,” said DCASE Commissioner Michelle T. Boone. “We continue to look for opportunities to increase access to regional produce in markets located in all of the City’s many neighborhoods.”

The Chicago Farmers Markets, presented by DCASE and COUNTRY Financial, are open May through October in the City’s downtown and neighborhoods. In this 35th year for the Chicago Farmers Markets there were 25 city-run market sites selling fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers. The City of Chicago, DCASE and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) partnered with Experimental Station to accept the LINK card at 15 markets including the three markets that will benefit from the USDA award.

The Chicago Farmers Markets program is presented by DCASE and COUNTRY Financial, and sponsored in party by 93 XRT, CBS 2 Chicago, WLS 890 AM & WLS 94.7 FM, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Tribune. For more information call 312.744-3316 or visit Join us on Facebook at Chicago Farmers Markets and on Twitter, @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiFarmersMarkets).

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Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.

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