April 26, 2012

Five New Farmers Markets Created In Food Deserts

Markets Also Provide Cooking Demonstrations, Gardening Tips, Nutrition Education and Accept LINK

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the locations of five new farmers markets that will open this summer in neighborhoods with limited grocery options, often referred to as food deserts.

The new markets will offer a variety of fresh produce and other farmstand items, along with other services to help residents lead healthier lifestyles, including an on-site nutritionist, healthy cooking demonstrations, herb planting and container gardening instructions, arts and music activities and other community programming. All five will accept the LINK card and also serve as a location for eligible residents to apply for LINK and receive referrals to other social services.

"It is unacceptable that nearly 400,000 Chicagoans do not have access to healthy, fresh foods for their families, and these farmers markets are a piece of a comprehensive plan to take food deserts off the map in our city," said Mayor Emanuel.  “We are providing healthy options for people whose neighborhoods are underserved by traditional grocery stores, and at the same time, providing information on nutrition and cooking with healthy foods.”All new locations are on or near busy streets where public transportation options abound but where healthy, fresh food options are not readily accessible.

Kraft Foods and Safeway Foundation will provide $75,000 each to cover the costs of opening and maintaining the five markets for the next two years. In addition, several other partners have teamed with the city to create the five new food desert farmers markets, including Chicago Botanic Garden, Fresh Moves, University of Illinois Extension, Growing Power, Kendall College, Parkways Foundation, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Washburne Culinary Institute, Illinois Farmer’s Market Network, Fresh Taste, and Experimental Station.

“This is one component of a multi-pronged strategy my administration is implementing to ensure healthy food is available to Chicagoans in every single neighborhood,” say Mayor Emanuel. 

The commitment to open these markets was made at the Mayor’s food access summit in October with First Lady Michelle Obama and community groups. Mayor Emanuel also received commitments from grocery and pharmacy store executives to open 17 new stores and retrofit 19 stores to sell fresh fruit and vegetables.  The city also passed an ordinance fully legalizing urban agriculture and expanding size limits on community gardens.  The new farmers markets will be operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events  in the following locations:

Healing Temple Church
4941 W. Chicago
Sundays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Programs, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
June 24 – October 28

Columbus Park Harrison and Central
Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Programs, 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.            
June 26-October 30       

La Follette Park Hirsch and Laramie
Wednesdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Programs, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
June 20-October 24

Austin Town Center Lake and Central
Thursdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Programs, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
June 28-October 25

Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church
3555 W. Huron
Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4p.m.
Programs , 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
June 30-October 27


Fifteen city-run markets will now accept the LINK card. Other markets which accept the LINK card are Daley Plaza; Federal Plaza; Lincoln Square; South Shore; Pullman; Hyde Park; Division Street; Bridgeport; Beverly and Wicker Park/Bucktown. The LINK card is for recipients of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that is offered throughout Illinois to those who qualify. The program helps put healthy food on the table for nearly a half a million Chicago families. 

With the addition of the five new locations, DCASE will operate more than 20 farmers markets throughout Chicago.  In addition, more than 20 markets are operated by non-profits, community groups and local chambers of commerce. COUNTRY Financial returns as the Chicago Farmers Markets program’s presenting sponsor for the fifth straight year.