Chicago Market, a community co-op

Hold the Dates!

Want to know more about Chicago Market’s site search & building plans – our criteria, process, where we stand and how you can provide input? Join board members at an upcoming Coffee &Conversation discussion on July 5, from 7:00 to 8:00pm at the Sulzer Library. You must RSVP here to attend.

Our Annual Owners Meeting will be held on August 28, from 2:00 to 5:00pm. We’ll report on the operations, finances and progress of Chicago Market against our key goals of Site, Funding and Owner growth. We’ll also conduct elections for five Board seats. More information will follow, but meanwhile a reminder that per bylaws, any Owner can add an item to the agenda by submitting a petition signed by 7% (58 Owners), no later than June 29. You’re also welcome to email and ask us first if we’re already intending to address any topic. We welcome your input!

Upcoming Meetings
Cantina 1910 promotion

Cantina 1910 is Chicago Market’s Owner #749 and our first Business Owner. Located in Andersonville, this large, lively restaurant partners with urban farmers, producers and artisans to reinvent traditional Mexican dishes and delicious cocktails using locally sourced materials and modern culinary techniques. Between now and July 31, Chicago Market Owners will get a free shareable dessert with your dinner purchase when you show your Chicago Market Owners Card (on the phone or printed out). One shareable dessert per table of one to four guests; two desserts for larger tables!

Photo by Grant Kessler

Get your Chicago Market Owners Card emailed to you by contacting us here – and stay tuned for more great Owners-Only promotions.

GLRP update

When does 807=810+819+824? When Chicago Market Owner #807 Melissa Sanchez joins the co-op and promptly recruits her mom, her aunt and her sister!

Melissa first heard about the co-op from her cousin Emily Crespo, who’s a Chicago Market board member. “I asked a lot of questions. I have two boys and I want to help them make healthy choices. Our family background is very traditional and our cooking does not always emphasize eating healthy. In other grocery stores, I feel intimidated about trying new foods because there’s no education or community aspect to help you. I know Chicago Market will be different, and I’m excited that as an Owner I get to have a say in what we’ll see there!”

“Then I talked to my mom about it,” she says. “She’s just retired and she wants to give back to her community and she saw that supporting a co-op by becoming an Owner was a really good place to start.”

We all struggle sometimes with how to ask our family, friends, neighbors to join the co-op. What’s Melissa’s advice?

“I never think about recruiting new owners like ‘a sale,’ she says. “Building a co-op is providing a service and an opportunity. I’m passionate about it and when I share that it opens doors.” To start the conversation, “I showed my mom Chicago Market’s website on my phone, went to the Facebook site and watched a video there. That helped us start talking.”

“Then,” she laughs, “once my mom was in, well, I have nine aunts and a big family here and we got everyone talking about it. My sister has a daughter who’s 10 months old, she wants to learn more about healthy foods for her family. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago, and she is making healthy lifestyle changes too. And all of us think it’s a great way to do good things for others in our community.”

Melissa’s already shared a #whatsyourblueprint idea with us for what she’d like to see in our co-op store. “Recipes, handed out at the front of the store!” she says. “Something I can carry with me that tells me what’s healthy and what’s in season and how to make it, so I don’t have to do so much research on my own to figure it out.”

We love Melissa’s recipe for growing Chicago Market: Take 1 co-op Owner, add a pinch of passion and a dash of information – stir up a conversation, and voilà! You’ve grown our honest food community. Share your own “growing Owners” tips with us – as well as ideas for what you’d like to see in your dream grocery store, by emailing us or sharing on our Facebook page!

Upcoming Meetings

It’s Farm Dinner Season

How can you and your family better connect with the sources of your food? Visit a farm!

Lots of farms in our area partner with local chefs and offer terrific farm dinners this summer. Our friends at FamilyFarmed have compiled a great list to help you find the right event. You could visit our friends at Mint Creek Farm – if you’re lucky, farmer Harry Carr might read you some of his poetry. Or follow Chicago Market Owner #245, chef Josh Kulp (Sunday Dinner Club and Honey Butter Fried Chicken) down to Prairie Fruits Farm for one of their Saturday-dinner, Sunday-brunch combos this summer. And if you can’t squeeze in the travel, City Farm has a dinner right downtown. Here’s the full calendar of farm dinners. Share your photos, tag them @ChicagoMkt and #midwestfarmdinner and let us know where you’ve been!

Upcoming Meetings

Let The Pickling Season Begin!

Meet Liat Shanan, Chicago Market Owner #89! She’s a gardener, artist, educator – and a passionate supporter of sustainable urban and rural food production. Liat is also a certified Master Food Preserver (really, it’s a thing) and shares what she calls “the joyful art of preserving” in canning classes she offers in her own and other people's kitchens. Contact her at [email protected] if you’re interested in learning more about canning or her creative canning parties. (Psst! You can also check out her son farmer Yoram’s CSA at Sandbox Organics).


Chicago Market Book Club!

Owner #759 Maria Rasche has a great idea:

Book Club

Interested in being part of the book club, or helping to host or organize? Join the discussion on our Owners-only Facebook group, or email Maria at [email protected]


This month we shine the spotlight on one of our amazing “behind the scenes” volunteers, Jeff Brown. Jeff became Chicago Market Owner #497 in September, 2014 when he noticed a friend’s Facebook post about the co-op. "She and I have similar cooking interests, and she posted a link to Chicago Market. I was curious so I clicked on it, liked what I saw and joined immediately. I saw it as

Jeff Brown

a great way to invest in my community and also – I’m not that excited about my fresh food buying options at other stores. I love Green City Market, but it’s not every day. I want a grocery that’s delightful and practical. I think the co-op has such potential to be something great for the neighborhood and for the city. I love being on the ground floor, creating it."

He’s currently Controller for United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and has worked for over 15 years for nonprofits large and small, including Chicago’s Lyric Opera. He studied music and business in college but says, “It was easier to build a career out of the business degree than it would have been to make a living out of music.” When he told us on last year’s Owner Survey that he’d be willing to bring his accounting and finance expertise to help Chicago Market as a volunteer, we were thrilled.

Jeff has helped the co-op across so many projects we’ve lost count: day-to-day bookkeeping, budgeting and reporting, trouble-shooting questions – as well as advising the Finance team on strategy and best practices as we transition from our all-volunteer organization to an eventual store &staff, helping us to craft financial policies and discipline. Says Board President Grant Kessler, "He’s a quiet, amazing asset."

When he’s not working with the co-op, Jeff puts his principles into action elsewhere, too. “United Way has 3 big pillars: philanthropy, advocacy, and volunteering as a way to get people involved in their community,” he says. He’s brushed up on both his Spanish skills and his Google Translate usage while helping residents of Brighton Park, on Chicago’s southwest side, prepare their taxes each year.

Jeff and his husband Craig live in Uptown, and he says he has the secret to a happy marriage: “20 years, I cook, he cleans!” His other words of wisdom? “I’m the proof that telling your friends about Chicago Market and posting about it on your Facebook page actually works! Keep sharing and we’ll keep growing!”.

June Poll