November 2023 newsletter

Chicago Market Newsletter — November 2023

Uptown Farmers Market Recap

Our 2023 Uptown Farmers Market season was fantastic! A few quick stats:

  • 27 markets
  • 34,000+ shoppers (more than double last year's number)
  • 30 vendors, 15 community partners
  • 45+ volunteers (700+ hours of time)
  • 15,000+ compostable bags (at no cost to vendors)
  • 700 reusable totes
  • 864+ gallons composted
  • $26,396 in SNAP and Link Match sales
  • $650 in Market Bucks winnings

Thanks to our amazing farmers and food producers. Thanks to all our volunteers who set up, strike, staff the SNAP/Link Match table, and more. Thanks to our supportive sponsors who make so much possible. Thanks to our musicians who make it joyful. Thanks to the team at Sunnyside Mall Uptown for hosting.

And a sincere thanks to all who shop the market.

Together we all make the Uptown Farmers Market such a wonderful thing in our community.

Enjoy this little video look back at the year — it sure makes us smile. And we'll see you again in May!

And a huge thanks to Owner Rick Baer who volunteers his time almost every week shooting the photos we feature in the video and in all our advertising and promotion of the market. 

Chicago Premiere of Common Ground

Common Ground is a rousing and uplifting feature-length documentary that shows a pathway to transform our current agricultural food system into an ecological way of growing food that can restore our health, our communities, and our climate. Directed by eco-filmmaking duo, Josh Tickell and Rebecca Tickell (Fuel, The Big Fix, Kiss the Ground), the film features appearances and narration by notable Hollywood talent including Laura Dern, Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, lan Somerhalder, and Donald Glover. 

The filmmakers and other food luminaries — including Chef Rick Bayless (Chicago Market Owner!), and pioneering urban farmer Will Allen — will be at the VIP event and part of a discussion after the film that Naturally Chicago's Jim Slama is moderating.

Saturday, November 18, Music Box Theatre

6:30 pm: VIP Reception with Filmmakers and Speakers
8:00 pm: Film Premiere
9:45 pm: Discussion with Filmmakers and Experts

TICKETS (general admission and VIP; both include post-film discussion)

All proceeds from this event support Naturally Chicago's Locally Made Program, a groundbreaking initiative designed to connect Illinois retailers with the region's emerging and top-performing brands, many of which are women and minority owned.

Foodshed Champions

Foodshed Champions raises up the activists, advocates, and organizations in our foodshed who are making a difference. Learn more about them and support any way you can.

Impact Culinary Training
Impact Culinary is a 12-week, no-cost training program for young adults ages 16-24 ​on Chicago's West Side. Courses take place at The Hatchery and are followed by a 4-week paid internship at a Chicagoland restaurant.

Two of our chef Owners participate as teachers there — Rick Bayless of the Frontera group and Paul Fehribach of Big Jones. Bayless appeared recently on WGN talking about the program. 

Support if you can — one day these trainees may be working in Chicago Market's kitchen!

Hello, Chicago Market!
I know as we get deeper into this beautiful autumn season that each and every one of you is anticipating our store opening – and wondering just when that might be. We are working as fast as the context will allow. ComEd is working on a final plan for our electrical connection along with StoreMasters, our builder. This has taken far more time than originally estimated by all parties. With an historic building, the CTA tracks so near, and the surrounding electrical infrastructure, the seemingly simple act of connecting power has been a challenge. We are hearing that a decision will be made before Thanksgiving and we can move ahead. That should mean we will have our power installed by the early spring.  
The other big utility in question is our natural gas from People’s. Again, the proximity to the tracks and the historic/landmark site considerations have made this a more challenging and longer process than we had hoped. We have workable options that are being reviewed and we expect to have a final placement for the natural gas riser by the end of November.  
These two items are very important, as the final approaches are necessary for our building permits to be issued. We expect to file for our permits required to build in mid-December. The length of time it takes to get approval will determine our likely opening time frame. With a full eight months expected to develop and prepare the site once we get permits to proceed, we reasonably expect to open in the last quarter of 2024. While we would all like to open earlier, we have processes and approvals that must be satisfied. We are on track to be an average start up in terms of organizing to opening time frame, believe it or not. Considering this is an unusually ambitious project, I think that is quite an achievement. One thing I do know is that the end product will live up to the vision so thoughtfully developed by our Owners over the years, and that will make the wait well worth it.
In cooperation,
Dan Arnett

Follow along on the process of your store with this visual of our Timeline.

Food Waste Job Alert

The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) a nationwide, non-partisan advocacy organization with a 50-year track record of winning policy change to protect the environment, public health, and consumers. PIRG is currently hiring for two positions on their campaign to end food waste. They are looking for individuals who would be passionate to run campaigns that push to make our nation’s food consumption more sustainable. 

Food Waste Campaign Associate (Chicago)   Entry-level | Full-time

Food and Agriculture Advocate (Chicago)   Mid-level | Full-time


  • Holiday Pop-Up Market — December 1, 5-8:00pm in our future store
  • Board Meeting — December 4, 7-9:00pm

News from Our Business Owners

Alternative Strategies
"We're excited to announce that Alternative Strategies is not only a proud owner but also the chosen agency for PR and Media outreach for Chicago Market. We're eagerly anticipating the opportunity to raise awareness and share the incredible story of Chicago Market with a broader audience."

Chicago Fair Trade
"We are running Chicago Fair Trade's 10th Annual Holiday Pop-Up Shop through December 23. The 10,000 square foot shop features items from 32 locally-owned fair trade businesses. And we also are hosting a natural indigo dye workshop this weekend."

Collective Resource Compost Cooperative
"We’re thrilled to report that our co-op has 50 owners! We’re also happy to be helping our customers combat climate change by making composting easy and together we’re diverting an average of 44 tons weekly. We’re looking forward to seeing our Uptown and Chicago Market friends at next month’s Winter Walk on Wilson on December 1st."

Get Involved

Your Co-op is a nationally recognized project that will have incredible impact on our local economy and the local food system. Invest in Preferred Shares now—you benefit and your Co-op can lower its reliance on bank debt. 

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Not up for investing but want to help your Co-op financially?

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