Why do we need Chicago Market when we already have farmers markets?
Good question (and we get it a lot) so we thought we would answer it.
Spring asparagus from Mick Klug farm at Green City Market - photo by Malcolm Haar.
We love farmers markets and view them as partners in the drive to expand the availability of healthy, locally grown foods and to protect our land for future generations. We live in a large city and the demand from consumers for local foods is rising. We need more local food outlets in town to meet demand and to support the local farmers and food producers. Farmers markets are thriving community gathering places centered on food and we want that too, on our side of town, every day.
Co-ops and farmers markets are natural partners. Co-ops often form from farmers markets; Chicago Market was born from the desire to replicate what's wonderful about the farmers' market and missing in the retail grocery store. In many places -- notably, in Urbana -- the farmers market is right next to the co-op and they appear as extensions of one another. Even though some of the farmers are selling in the co-op and in the market, they co-exist.As much as we love going to farmers markets, we also recognize there are people who don’t have time or interest in shopping that way and yet they’d love access to a store where they can pick up local foods, shampoo, and a prepared meal for their busy family. Chicago Market will be that place. A store that meets the consumer drive to know where their food comes from but recognizes people need more flexible hours to shop.
Not all farmers sell at farmers markets. There are farmers who prefer to sell wholesale – farmers markets and the Co-op both share the value that our local farmers are an incredible asset that we should support.
There is also a rapidly expanding number of local food producers – makers of tomato sauces, pickles, jams, beers, spirits and more, who work with locally grown foods to make their goods and they could use a retail outlet such as ours.
There is no replacing the farmers markets – they have led the way for local foods and farmers in Chicago. Chicago Market sees itself as an added part of the Chicago foodshed, bringing even more local foods to Chicagoans. We’re both partners in the same work and are proud to be working together to connect people with their farmers and food.
Do you have other questions? Read our FAQs to learn more about everything from sourcing to funding to governance.