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Five New Farmers Markets For Food Deserts

By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 27, 2012 5:20PM

2012_4_27GCM5.jpg This summer, five new farmers markets will begin serving west side neighborhoods currently without easy access to fresh food. As part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "food desert" elimination program, these markets will help people get fruits and vegetables from local farms into their diet. But be careful; the markets are only part of the program, and you might not like the rest.

The Sun-Times reported that Mayor Emmanuel "has summoned the CEOs of Wal-Mart and other major retailers to a summit on “food deserts” that, he claims, produced plans to build 17 new stores and retrofit 19 existing stores to sell fresh produce in inner-city neighborhoods." While we applaud his attention to the issue, is the solution really to fill the west side with Wal-Marts? We know the battle over Wal-Mart in Chicago is pretty much lost, but there's a difference between a trickle and a flood. Oh, and Mayor E? Make sure not to let them anywhere near the farmers markets, or things will get pretty shady pretty quickly.

The new markets are sponsored by Kraft and the Safeway Foundation, and will include nutrition classes, art and music in addition to tasty food. We hope the city takes a page from the Glenwood Sunday Market's
book and makes it exceptionally easy to shop with food assistance - their new token program is ingenious. Perhaps the new markets will even match food stamps dollar-for-dollar to encourage people to shop at these new venues, as some private markets have.

The new markets will be held at:

  • Healing Temple Church, 4941 W. Chicago, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sundays starting June 24
  • Columbus Park at Harrison and Central from 1 to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays starting June 26
  • LaFollette Park at Hirsch and Laramie from 2 to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays starting June 20
  • Austin Town Center at Lake and Central from 1 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays starting June 28
  • Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church, 3555 W. Huron, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays starting June 30