Chicago Market Isn't A Place

As of this month, over 850 Owners have joined Chicago Market, and we're so excited about our growing honest food community. But as we've shared before, our co-op will need a lot more Owners before we can open our doors. Our planning work tells us that we cannot secure a loan and therefore a site without 1,500 Owners. Market research says there are more than enough likely joiners in our target area. But we need your help finding them and helping them understand why they should join, now. We hear a lot that one thing that makes it hard for Owners to recruit their friends, family, neighbors to join is that "we can't tell you yet where the store will be." Our Board and Site team are working hard on that! Meanwhile, Board President Grant Kessler offers another way to think (and talk) about what Chicago Market is all about. Here's his story. What's yours?


Chicago Market isn’t a place.

Chicago Market is the recognition that the word agriculture contains the word “culture”. Chicago Market is you and I working together to reinvigorate our foodshed with culture, with community around food and around growing. We are working together to rebuild the connections between eater, farmer and soil.

The work will be complicated, but the idea is simple – you and I working together – because we want food culture, food with story, food with intense flavor, food with soil clinging to it and a farmer with a name bringing it to us.

Short story:

At the farmer’s market recently I ran into a friend (and fellow Chicago Market Owner!). Eric was very excited to have gotten 5 pounds of something called a marrow bean from Tracey at Three Sisters Garden. He told me passionately and reverently about how delicious these beans are and that he buys so many because they freeze well. “Really, if you like beans, you have to try these,” he urged.



Next stop for me was of course to go see my farmer friend Tracey and I bought something less than 5 pounds to give them a try. They are in fact, delicious fresh beans that are named marrow beans for a reason – they have a very meaty flavor and texture. I’m a convert. A week later I check in with Tracey for more and she says she’s out of the fresh, but let her know before market and she would bring me some of her frozen ones.

Do you see what happened there? Do you see the community and culture in that story? Eric (part of my community) sold Tracey’s beans for her. And now I’m selling them to you. Now picture those same beans on a shelf in a typical grocery store. Would they sell? Would you care? Would you know about them at all?

Chicago Market isn’t a place.

It doesn’t matter where Chicago Market is. It is more than a location. It is food with a story and it won’t be rich and amazing without you adding your story to it. Be part of this amazing change in our food culture by becoming an Owner today!

[photo credit: Grant Kessler]



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