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StreetWise + Fruit + Jobs = Neighbor Carts

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 15, 2012 6:20PM

2012_10_15_carts.jpg Have you seen "Neighbor Carts" popping up around the city? We've seen then outside the Chicago Avenue Red Line stop, and have even bought an occasional banana, but we weren't quite sure what they were. Now we know: StreetWise has taken advantage of the new city ordinance legalizing fruit carts to start another initiative that helps people earn a living and brings food to places that need it.

Neighbor Capital has joined together with StreetWise to make this project possible. Neighbor Capital is "a social enterprise that focuses on sustainable solutions to health, job creation, and promotion of the environment and green spaces in underserved communities," according to Ramon Gonzalez at TreeHugger.

There's more:

Upon completion of the program, Neighbor Cart vendors will have tax ID numbers, their own license, independent bank accounts to track and manage their funds, and they will be empowered to find other business opportunities. It is estimated that each fruit stand will create three jobs.

Neighbor Capital, StreetWise and the Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development have teamed up to give $25,000 in financing to new vendors.

Here's hoping that this program can become associated with one of the more socially-minded farmers markets in Chicago and, at least seasonally, start spreading local food into the community. Next time you see an orange cart, stop and buy some fruit.