Green City Market- Foods For A Sustainable World

Know Your Food...Know Your Farmer

America is currently overwhelmed by SUV’s, soaring gas prices, beach closings and mercury runoff, among many other things Mother Nature never intended.  Even the food we put into our mouths has many forms of cancer causing agents that make cigarettes look like a minor threat.  If cows could play baseball, Daisy would be the all-time home run champion.  American excess is beginning to make an about face.  We have the Green Party, Al Gore, the EPA, and Michael Moore.  Although this is may bode well for the future, we are still urgently in need of re-educating ourselves, shaking off our glutinous ways.

At the turn of this century, Chicago’s Green City Market’s founder, Abby Mandel, began to help educate the public in understanding the importance of sustainable and natural growing processes and returning to a more natural growing practice.  Small regional farmers have committed themselves to providing the most natural products from the farm to the plate.  

The People Behind Green City Market

Local restaurant owners and chefs have been buying into Green City Market’s philosophy of connecting Chicago’s communities with food sources grown locally throughout the mid-west.  Mandel says, “Because you can know the farmer who grew what you’re buying, you know exactly what you are putting on your plate.”  Green City Market’s non-profit organization has year round events and educational opportunities for adults and children.  It is located in the heart of Lincoln Park near the zoo, 1750 N. Clark Street.  Events include educating new farmers in qualification requirements for selling in the city, cooking demonstrations for the public, shopping with the chefs on Wednesdays, food and health discussions, and hands-on projects for children.  In addition, Green City Market maintains farm house gardens for children ages two through five, and 5,000 square feet of edible gardens for school-age kids.

Every year, an annual event, Green City Market Chef’s Summer BBQ Festival, brings together 50 of Chicago’s top chefs and restaurant owners who are committed to supporting local farmers and sustainable foods.  I had the opportunity to attend this event this July.  Chefs and owners included; Amalea Tschilds and Jason Hammel-Lula Café, Terry Crandall-Peninsula Hotel, Ina Pinkney-Ina’s, and Rick Bayless-Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, just to name a few that are major supporters of Green City Market’s philosophy. 

Goose Island Brewery


Local Chicago Restaurants

A large part of their restaurant menus include various foods from local growers.  This event garnered a great turn out, while educating the public on the importance and roles small farmers have on our economy and our overall health.  Ina Pinkney said, “Ina’s is a great supporter of a sustainable market, and wants farmers to thrive.”  Rick Bayless said, “Frontera Grill is huge with buying products from local growers.  By the end of the month, Frontera Grill hopes to have 90% locally raised ingredients.”  Four years ago, Frontera Grill set up The Frontera Farmer Foundation, providing capital development grants to farmers serving the Chicago area. 

Rick Bayless Serves up Fresh Corn

By learning more about small family farm products, we may reduce environmental concerns such as, chemicals and pesticides that we ingest and that spill into our natural resources.  Although the efforts of Green City Market are just the tip of the iceberg, we can have a large impact on saving an American farming tradition, not to mention, Mother Nature.
Green City Market events are located at:1750 N. Clark Street.

The Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am – 1:30pm.

For more information on Green City Market’s events, call:  847-424-2486

Web site:

Photos by:  Joel P. Shrago

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