WBEZ | farmers markets http://www.wbez.org/tags/farmers-markets-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Farmers markets in Chicago vary in offerings because of different missions http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/farmers-markets-chicago-vary-offerings-because-different-missions-110284 <p><p>On a breezy Saturday morning in early May, shoppers bustled through the French Market in Lakeview stuffing their bags with brightly colored sweet peppers, plump tomatoes and deep purple eggplants.</p><p>A couple of miles down the road, in Lincoln Park, foodies welcomed the year&rsquo;s first outdoor Green City Market. But here, the pickings were much slimmer: just ramps, asparagus, greens, radishes and some cellared stuff from last year. &nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/farmers-markets-chicago-vary-offerings-because-different-missions-110284#howto" target="_blank"><strong>How to get the most out of your farmers market</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>Even as the the warm weather moved in last week, Michigan-based <a href="http://www.mickklugfarm.com/">Klug Farms</a>, was still only offering, &ldquo;spinach, swiss chard, rhubarb, asparagus, herbs, lettuce, kale and potatoes,&rdquo; said Klug salesclerk Jeremy Sapp, as he stood in Daley Plaza.</p><p>So, with all the recent emphasis on seasonality and local food, why did one market look like it sold imported produce while another reflected springtime in the Midwest? &nbsp;</p><p>It really boils down to different market philosophies. But it also illustrates the importance of knowing your market before you shop. The Chicago area will host more than 150 weekly farmers markets this year and they don&rsquo;t all share the same priorities. &nbsp;</p><p>Leslie Cahill, who manages <a href="http://bensidounusa.com/">14 Bensidoun French Markets in Chicagoland,</a> says these gatherings are more about nurturing new entrepreneurs, creating community and presenting unique products. So, she&rsquo;s not so strict when it comes to local produce. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;For example, I have a farmer who works at my Villa Park French market,&rdquo; Cahill said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s a wonderful guy and his cousin actually farms tomatoes in Florida. So every spring, he brings up tomatoes from his cousin&rsquo;s farm in Florida. It&rsquo;s not a local product, but it&rsquo;s a personal relationship he&rsquo;s bringing.&rdquo;</p><p>Cahill said she has another vendor who imports fresh figs from the West Coast. And all she asks for is transparency. &nbsp;</p><p>Still, local food advocate Roxanne Junge, who manages the <a href="http://www.glenviewparks.org/facilities-parks/glenview-farmers-market/">Glenview Farmers Market</a>, worries that some vendors won&rsquo;t be so transparent.</p><p>&ldquo;Those who purely go to a wholesaler and buy things that are not at all local and they bring them in and they pass themselves as farmers (they) can undercut those who are doing it themselves,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;So, we need to have real farmers at farmers markets.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p>Yesenia Mota has managed<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html"> City of Chicago farmers markets</a> for more than a decade. And over those years, she says, the city has become much choosier about its vendors.</p><p>&ldquo;When we revamped our application processes a few years ago the city really did a 180,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We threw out a lot of wholesalers. We decreased our number of markets and really focused on farmers and farmer relations and knowing who these farmers are. And it&rsquo;s amazing with social media, you can really look up a farmer and see what they are growing.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" longdesc="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/French%20Market.jpg" style="height: 349px; width: 620px; float: right;" title="An early May French Market in Lakeview featured bounty normally associated with late summer. But French Market managers say that their markets are about more than local produce. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></p><p>At <a href="http://www.greencitymarket.org/">Green City Market</a>, the process goes one step further. Not only does the produce need to be local. But each vendor must earn and display a specific sustainability certification.</p><p>Most markets also allow co-ops or the ability to bring in produce from a neighbor as it&rsquo;s vetted first.</p><p>Then we&rsquo;ve got the independent farmers markets. These can be located in the city or suburbs. But each is governed by a different set of rules.</p><p>And, as long as people are honest, Junge says this diversity can be a good thing.</p><p>&ldquo;In some areas, people recognize unusual fruits and vegetables. And in other areas, they don&rsquo;t and they won&rsquo;t buy them,&rdquo; says Junge, who&rsquo;s a board member of the <a href="http://ilfarmersmarkets.org/">Illinois Farmers Market Association</a>. &ldquo;In some areas, there&rsquo;s more expendable income and you&rsquo;ll have higher priced items showing up there. And in other places, there&rsquo;s lower income. So, its absolutely OK to have different kinds. They fit in what works in that area.&rdquo;</p><p>This flexibility, for instance, allowed the independent Bronzeville Community Market to include decidedly &ldquo;un&rdquo;local oranges, bananas, broccoli, grapes and packaged lettuce when it opened in 2008 (it&rsquo;s on hiatus this year). Bernita Johnson-Gabriel, who helped launch the market, says it wouldn&rsquo;t have made sense to keep them out.</p><p>&ldquo;Our community sort of fit the profile of being a food desert and so it was important for us to bring in as many healthy options as we could for our constituents,&rdquo; said Johnson-Gabriel who&rsquo;s the Executive Director of the <a href="http://www.qcdc.org/">Quad Communities Development Corporation.</a> &ldquo;Some of those healthy fruits and vegetables were not necessarily locally grown. And while we support local businesses, the access to good fruits and vegetables just wasn&rsquo;t here for us and so we felt the need to sort of make that happen.&rdquo; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>So, why exactly is it so important for some people that the produce at farmers markets be purely local?</p><p>&ldquo;What we are trying to do in Illinois is try to build back our local food systems,&rdquo; Junge said. &ldquo;And to do that we have to support the local agricultural products that will ensure more health, social stability and economic stability.&rdquo;</p><p>For Cahill of the French Markets, however, the goals are a little different.</p><p>&ldquo;I think the goal of all markets is to be a community meeting place,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;That is certainly the essence of what we want to do. Mom can find something there, dad can find something there. You can bring aunt and grandma and the kids can find something, and you can actually eat some food together at the market, and enjoy the day and enjoy the moment.&rdquo;</p><p>Whatever kind of farmers market you attend this summer, Mota suggests: &ldquo;Get to know your farmer so you know where your food is coming from.&rdquo;</p><p>And in some case, get to know your market manager, too. That way, you know what you&rsquo;re buying before you start filling up your bag.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>How to get the most out of your farmers market<a name="howto"></a></strong></p><p>No matter what kind of farmers market you attend this summer, there are some universal tips that can help make the experience better.</p><ul><li>Take an initial spin around the market and get the lay of the land before buying.</li><li>Bring your own bags, including some insulated bags with cold packs if you&rsquo;re taking home perishables.</li><li>Be open to new produce, but also shop with the week&rsquo;s schedule in mind. If you&rsquo;re going to be eating out much of the week, for example, those 10 bags of arugula could be a mistake.</li><li>Give yourself a budget. Between snacks, pastries, produce, cheese and meat, you can easily drop $100 without knowing it.</li><li>If you have limited cash, figure out who takes credit cards and then plot your purchases from there.</li><li>Figure out your priorities--organic, never sprayed, local, biodynamic, pastured, grassfed, heirloom--and then ask questions of the farmers based on them. But keep in mind that, for example, organic tree fruit farming is nearly impossible in the Midwest due to the humidity and the pests. Many fine farmers, instead, use integrated pest management which requires only the most crucial pesticide applications.</li><li>Ask farmers (or chefs doing demos) for suggestions on how best to prepare unfamiliar produce.</li><li>If you&rsquo;re making pies or sauces (or you&rsquo;re just not fussy) ask to see the box of &ldquo;seconds&rdquo; or cheaper, imperfect produce that farmers didn&rsquo;t feel was fit to display on the table.&nbsp;&nbsp;</li><li>Farm fresh pastured chicken eggs sell out fast and require you to get to the market early.&nbsp; And if you find a farmer with healthy egg yolks the color of pumpkins, it means the chickens get to live and forage outdoors. Return to that farmer often.</li><li>Bring lots of small bills. Farmers love exact change and it speeds up transactions.</li><li>Bring old yogurt containers to protect delicate berries and other produce on the trip home.</li><li>Clear off the counters and take out the bowls and colanders before you leave for the market. This may inspire you to wash, process (and even eat) your produce as soon as you come home. Produce loses nutrients within days of picking, so the sooner you can eat it, the better.</li><li>If you&rsquo;re trying to go green, ride your bike to the market. Studies show that your chosen mode of transportation plays a big role overall carbon footprint of your shopping experience.&nbsp;</li><li>If you are going to make a big batch of sauce or pies, call your farmers before the market and ask them to bring the &ldquo;seconds&rdquo; to the next market for you. &mdash; Janine MacLachlan.</li><li>If you want to plan for future cooking projects ask farmers which crops are close to coming in, or more generally consult the city&rsquo;s seasonality chart.&nbsp;</li></ul></p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 17:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/farmers-markets-chicago-vary-offerings-because-different-missions-110284 Food stamp spending grows at Midwest farmers markets http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/food-stamp-spending-grows-midwest-farmers-markets-109436 <p><p dir="ltr">In 2013, the amount of money spent at farmers markets by food stamp recipients grew in the Midwest.</p><p dir="ltr">And the number of farmers markets that accept food stamps experienced a 79 percent increase.</p><p dir="ltr">Alan Shannon, spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said there are a lot of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/can-two-reporters-survive-5-food-day-108658">misperceptions</a> about families in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;A lot of times there are access issues - food deserts and the like - where SNAP populations or lower-income populations don&rsquo;t have access to healthy food. Farmers markets a lot of times can resolve those challenges,&rdquo; Shannon said.</p><p dir="ltr">Last year, 65 farmers markets in Illinois accepted SNAP benefits; this year there are 97.</p><p dir="ltr">That helps many low-income areas, which <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/audio-engineering/federal-food-stamp-program-fails-some-low-income-chicagoans">lack</a> healthy food options.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;When we look at these data every year going up for SNAP redemptions in the Midwest, you can tell that SNAP participants really do want healthy food, they just have to have access to it,&rdquo; Shannon said.</p><p>Illinois is third in the country in the number of farmers markets. Michigan is second in the nation in farmers market food stamp sales. Shannon said the private and nonprofit sector has helped support small farmers reach low-income families.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/image001.jpg" style="height: 308px; width: 620px;" title="Source: USDA" /></div><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/nmoore-0" rel="author">Natalie Moore</a> is a WBEZ reporter. <a href="mailto:nmoore@wbez.org">nmoore@wbez.org</a> Follow Natalie on <a href="https://plus.google.com//104033432051539426343" rel="me">Google+</a>, &nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/natalieymoore">Twitter</a></em></p></p> Tue, 31 Dec 2013 05:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/food-stamp-spending-grows-midwest-farmers-markets-109436 Adventures in urban gardening http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/adventures-urban-gardening-107297 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Leah%20Garden.JPG" title="My apartment community garden in Logan Square. (WBEZ/Leah Pickett)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">Rahm Emanuel may not be everyone&#39;s favorite mayor in regards to improving our city, but his new plan to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/17/emanuel-urban-farm-networ_n_2896417.html" target="_blank">transform vacant lots on Chicago&#39;s South Side into thriving and profitable urban farms in just three years</a>&nbsp;is definitely a step in the right direction.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/mayor/press_room/press_releases/2013/march_2013/mayor_emanuel_launchesnewfarmersforchicagonetworkforchicagourban.html" target="_blank">Farmers for Chicago</a>&nbsp;will make up to five acres of city-owned lots available to local non-profits, who will in turn cultivate the land and create a network of area farmers to help relieve food desert-related issues.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Green-thumbed Chicagoans will also get the chance to <a href="http://grist.org/food/chicago-tackles-the-next-big-challenge-in-urban-ag-growing-farmers/" target="_blank">build their own enterprises</a>, as food from these farms will be distributed to more than a dozen local farmers markets, corner stores, restaurants and grocery chains.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The city hails this program as one of the first of its kind, but the idea of <a href="http://grist.org/food/chicago-urban-ag-farm-district-could-be-the-biggest-in-the-nation/" target="_blank">urban farming</a> is nothing new. Community gardens have thrived in Chicago since <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/community-gardens/" target="_blank">the 1940s</a>,&nbsp;and have experienced a newfound popularity in recent years thanks to the efforts of organizations like the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/facilities/community-gardens/" target="_blank">Chicago Park District</a>.&nbsp;And with city garden co-ops popping up in <a href="http://neighbor-space.org/gardens-2/" target="_blank">almost every neighborhood</a>&nbsp;this summer (including the now nine-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohoneycoop.com" target="_blank">Chicago Honey Co-Op</a>, which&nbsp;offers chemical-free honey and beekeeping classes in addition to partnering with community gardens city-wide), helping hands are always welcome.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Other awesome resources for potential volunteers include:</div><ul><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.chicagobotanic.org/info/" target="_blank">Chicago Botanic Garden</a>- a science conservation center of over 50,000 members</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.garfield-conservatory.org" target="_blank">Garfield Park Conservatory</a>- one of the largest and most stunning conservatories in the nation</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://greennetchicago.org/how-to/find" target="_blank">GreenNet Chicago</a>- a coalition of nonprofits committed to green and sustainable open spaces</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.chicagofarmers.org" target="_blank">The Chicago Farmers</a>- a public forum for community farmers since 1935</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://neighbor-space.org" target="_blank">NeighborSpace</a>- Chicago&#39;s only nonprofit land trust dedicated to the protection of city gardens</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://twitter.com/ChiGardenBlogs" target="_blank">Chicago Gardeners</a>- a network of links to Chicago&#39;s best garden bloggers</li><li class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.thelocalbeet.com" target="_blank">The Local Beet</a>-&nbsp;an online hub for Chicagoans looking to eat local</li></ul><div class="image-insert-image ">Interested in growing your own food and flowers at home? Here&#39;s a few tips to get started:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Shop local</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Visit your neighborhood <a href="http://www.yelp.com/c/chicago/gardening" target="_blank">nursery</a> or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/farmers_market.html" target="_blank">farmers market</a> for an assortment of gardening delights that won&#39;t break the bank. Home Depot may have lower prices on tools, soil and fertilizer; but for plants (especially herbs and flowers) locally-grown is the way to go. You can also buy seeds and food-producing plants at most local stores through the <a href="http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30357" target="_blank">Illinois Link Card</a> system. Another way to save money when gardening is by making your own compost. Instead of throwing away apple cores, eggshells and coffee grounds, store them in a <a href="http://theparttimefarmer.blogspot.com/2012/03/normal.html" target="_blank">sun-lit container</a>&nbsp;and then mash them into soil for a nutrient-rich plant base on a budget.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Grow up</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Don&#39;t have a lot of space? Get creative with plants that grow up instead of out. With a little pruning, vines like peas, beans and squashes can climb up a trellis or a pole, which can be leaned against the side of a sunny window if you don&#39;t have a balcony, porch or patio. Also, look for <a href="http://humbleseed.com/blog/humbleseed/companion-planting-best-friends-in-the-garden/" target="_blank">companion pairs </a>that grow well together to control the insect balance in your garden and maximize cultivation in a tiny space. Alfalfa sprouts, lentils and garbanzo beans can thrive in small containers, while hanging pots for stemmy vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers can double as beautifully cascading décor.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Stick with the sustainable</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Consult the <a href="http://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-dates/IL/Chicago" target="_blank">2013 Farmer&#39;s Almanac</a>&nbsp;for a list of Chicago-specific planting dates for certain edible crops. Heirloom tomatoes are a great starter plant, as they are relatively<a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/five-easy-grow-heirloom-tomatoes-home-gardens-7491976.html" target="_blank"> easy to grow</a> and taste delicious straight off the vine. Fresh herbs like basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano are great for windowsills, since they require minimal maintenance and can <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/10-best-herbs-indoors" target="_blank">flourish year-round indoors</a>. Also, look for plants that don&#39;t need a lot of sunlight (think fall and winter produce like lettuce, peas, spinach, kale, carrots and potatoes) so that you can continue to grow your garden even after the few precious months of Chicago summer have come and gone.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 08:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/adventures-urban-gardening-107297 This week in food events: Daley Plaza farmers market opens and more http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-05/week-food-events-daley-plaza-farmers-market-opens-and-more-99367 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rivervalleyoysters.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 449px;" title="River Valley Ranch oyster mushrooms at a Chicago farmers market (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p style="text-align: left; ">Well. Having NATO in town is turning out to be interesting. Including the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/officials-mum-nato-protesters-held-police-raid-99315">arrest</a> of three protestors accused of possessing bomb-making equipment&mdash;which their lawyers say is actually beer-making equipment. With <a href="http://chibeerweek.com/">Chicago Craft Beer Week</a> in full swing, our city could be the epicenter of home brew experts. Compare notes over suds, or under the Picasso at the <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/mose/daley_plaza.html">Daley Plaza Farmers Market</a> opener&mdash;as we take back our city.</p><p style="text-align: left; "><strong style="text-decoration: underline; ">Tuesday, May 22</strong></p><p>Run, walk, or shuttle through&nbsp;<a href="http://www.albanyparkchamber.org/bon-appetit-2012.html">Bon Appetit 2012</a>, the third annual restaurant crawl of Albany Park and North Park, which this year features 23 participating restaurants. &quot;[G]et your ticket, map, and &#39;passport&#39; for the evening...Venues will provide small dishes of food and drink until 9 p.m.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Wednesday, May 23</strong></u></p><p>Eat the roof at the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.slowfoodchicago.org/index.php/2012/03/30/dinner-at-uncommon-ground/">Slow Food Chicago dinner at Uncommon Ground</a> on Devon,&nbsp;&quot;to help support our local farmers going to <a href="http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/programs/details/bringing_terra_madre_home/">Terra Madre</a> in Torino, Italy this fall!&quot; The roof top farm passed apps precedes &quot;[o]rganic products of Harvest Moon Farms and the excellent spirits from our friends at Few as well as beef and pork from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm. Farmers in attendance to talk about their products.&quot;</p><p><u><strong>Thursday, May 24</strong></u></p><p>Shop early and often at opening day of the <a href="http://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/mose/daley_plaza.html">Daley Plaza Farmers Market</a>, which &quot;offers fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods and other items every Thursday...until October 18.&quot;</p><p>Cook, eat, and be beery at Chicago Craft Beer Week&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://chibeerweek.com/event/?eid=159">Cooking with [Top Chef Texas contestant] Grayson</a>&nbsp;[Schmitz]&nbsp;at Logan Square Kitchen. &quot;Beer pairings from 5 Rabbit will accompany this intimate, family-style dinner that guests will make and share together with Chef from her recipes...Ticket proceeds will support hunger relief efforts in Chicago through the [<a href="http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homepage">Greater] Chicago Food Depository</a>.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s easy being green at <a href="http://chibeerweek.com/event/?eid=236">Grilling in the Garden</a> at Goose Island Wrigleyville, which &quot;invites you to join us in our backyard for sausages on the grill and seasonal beers. We&#39;ll be pouring Green City Market produce-infused beers like our rhubarb saison, strawberry Belgian wit, strawberry kolsch, strawberry flanders brown and more!&nbsp;Proceeds benefit the <a href="http://www.greencitymarket.org/index.asp">Green City Market</a>&#39;s Chicago LINK program, a Green City Market Jr. Board outreach and education initiative.&quot;</p><p><u><strong>Friday, May 25</strong></u></p><p>Learn <a href="http://www.wildfermentation.com/events/chicago-cultural-center/">The Art of Fermentation</a> at the Chicago Cultural Center. &quot;Sandor Katz presents his new book about fermentation, culture, and community. Come share kraut, meet Sandor, hear about his new book, get a copy inscribed to you, and ask questions.&quot;</p><p>Get a <a href="http://freshmoves.org/2012/05/its-our-first-anniversary/">Taste of Fresh Moves</a>, the mobile produce market, at their One Year Anniversary Celebration with &quot;live, tasty healthy food demos, workshops of food preservation and making your own healthy baby food&quot; and more.</p><p>Explore <a href="http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/calendar/event-details/index.php?guid=CAL-402882f8-343d3391-0134-3da4044b-000000cdeventscalendar@uchicago.edu">Feasting Across Time: Hospitality and Feasts in the Ancient World</a> at the Smart Museum. &quot;In this free talk, archaeologist Geoff Emberling explores a range of banquets in early Mesopotamia and asks whether these ancient feasts continue to inform politics and food in the more recent history of the Middle East.&quot;</p><p><u><strong>Saturday, May 26</strong></u></p><p>Discuss <a href="http://www.wellnesshouse.org/2012/your-food-choices-changing-the-world-one-meal-at-a-time/">Your Food Choices: Changing the World One Meal at a Time</a> at the Wellness House in Hinsdale with &quot;Terra Brockman, author of The Seasons on Henry&rsquo;s Farm and founder of The Land Connection. Terra...is the fourth of five generations of Central Illinois farmers. [She] will discuss her brother&rsquo;s organic vegetable farm, her sister&rsquo;s organic fruit farm, and the ripple effects of our food choices&mdash;including the health, economic, and environmental benefits of supporting local farmers.&quot;</p><p><u><strong>Sunday, May 27</strong></u></p><p>Watch a screening of <a href="http://ff.hrw.org/film/bitter-seeds?city=6">Bitter Seeds</a> at the Gene Siskel Film Center, part of&nbsp;the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. &quot;Manjusha Amberwar, a young journalist, examines the causes of an epidemic of farmer suicides in India&mdash;one every 30 minutes&mdash;that includes her own father...In 2004 an American company introduced its genetically modified seeds to the Indian market, promising higher yields. Farmers tell her that the seeds require expensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers. And the sterile seeds, unlike the conventional seeds previously used by farmers, have to be purchased again each year. Manjusha follows one farmer through the disappointing season...We see the vicious cycle: annual loans from usurious moneylenders, desperate debt and the inability of farmers to provide dowries for their daughters&mdash;making the symbolism of their suicide by drinking expensive pesticides all but inescapable.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 21 May 2012 08:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-05/week-food-events-daley-plaza-farmers-market-opens-and-more-99367 Federal money available for farmers markets http://www.wbez.org/culture/food/federal-money-available-farmers-markets-98819 <p><p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture has $10 million available for farmers markets and community-support agriculture programs.</p><p>Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon urged local food producers in Illinois to apply for the grant money to help develop farmers markets and other locally grown food businesses in the state.</p><p>The Farmers Market Promotion Program last year awarded four grants in Illinois. That included $81,000 that Southern Illinois University is using to establish the Illinois Farmers Market Association. That group will provide professional development for farmers and markets.</p><p>Simon's office says applicants will get priority if their plans would increase healthy food choices in low-income areas.</p><p>More information can be found at the <a href="http://grants.gov">federal government grants website</a>.</p></p> Fri, 04 May 2012 09:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/food/federal-money-available-farmers-markets-98819 Chicago gets 5 new farmers markets http://www.wbez.org/culture/food/chicago-gets-5-new-farmers-markets-98611 <p><p>Five Chicago neighborhoods will get new farmers markets starting this summer.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lincoln%20Square%20Farmers%20Market_flickr_Tony%20Bailey.jpg" style="height: 453px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Produce at the farmers market in Lincoln Square. The city will get five new markets this summer, all on the West Side. (Flickr/Tony Bailey)">Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the neighborhoods Thursday. They will be located in areas that have limited grocery options, known as food deserts. The sites are near public transportation and will accept LINK cards.</div><p>Each market will have an on-site nutritionist, cooking demonstrations, gardening instructions, music and other community programs.</p><p>Local partners have stepped in to help with each new market. The costs of opening and maintaining the five markets for the next two years will be covered by Kraft Foods and Safeway Foundation, which will provide $75,000 each.</p><p>The city operates more than 20 farmers markets. More than 20 additional markets are operated by nonprofits, community groups and local chambers of commerce.</p><p>According to the mayor's office, the new farmers markets will be located as follows:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Healing Temple Church<br>4941 W. Chicago<br>Sundays, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.<br>Programs, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.<br>June 24 – October 28</p><p>Columbus Park<br>Harrison and Central<br>Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.<br>Programs, 2 p.m.- 6 p.m.<br>June 26-October 30</p><p>La Follette Park<br>Hirsch and Laramie<br>Wednesdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.<br>Programs, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.<br>June 20-October 24</p><p>Austin Town Center<br>Lake and Central<br>Thursdays, 1 p.m. – 7 p.m.<br>Programs, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.<br>June 28-October 25</p><p>Mount Ebenezer Baptist Church<br>3555 W. Huron<br>Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4p.m.<br>Programs , 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.<br>June 30-October 27</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/food/chicago-gets-5-new-farmers-markets-98611 Midwest sees increase in food stamps at farmers markets http://www.wbez.org/story/midwest-sees-increase-food-stamps-farmers-markets-95140 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-December/2011-12-23/RS352_AP080501044376-LINK Paul Beaty-lpr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois saw an increase in the number of farmers markets accepting food stamps.</p><p>Financially, that translated into a 112-percent increase in food stamp redemptions.</p><p>The Midwest did better than any other region this year when it came to food stamp usage at farmers markets.Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio all had dramatic surges compared with last year. Likewise, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/more-chicago-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-87241">Chicago experienced an increase</a>.</p><p>Food stamps at farmers markets help low-income families.</p><p>"It’s important to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables," said Audrey Rowe, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Many individuals who are participants in our program live in what are called food deserts. Many of them are not even aware of where they can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables."</p><p>Rowe says red tape was cut for farmers - and that led to an ease in upping the number of markets that accept food stamps.</p><p><strong>Midwest Region Farmers Markets and Direct Marketing Farmers (DMF) Count and Redemption Data</strong></p><table style="width: 633px;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="633"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 40px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 40px;"><p align="center"><strong>2010 Number of Markets/DMF</strong></p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 40px;"><p align="center"><strong>2011 Number of Markets/DMF</strong></p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 40px;"><p align="center"><strong>2010 SNAP Redemptions</strong></p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 40px;"><p align="center"><strong>2011 SNAP Redemptions</strong></p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 40px;"><p align="center"><strong>2010 / 2011 Redemptions Increase&nbsp; %</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Illinois</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">33</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">48</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$32,600</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$69,320</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>112.64%</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Indiana</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">10</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">24</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$8,338</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$20,527</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>146.19%</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Michigan</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">80</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">153</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$578,518</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$1,076,611</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>86.10%</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Minnesota</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">27</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">44</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$20,007</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$66,652</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>233.14% </strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Ohio</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">56</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">84</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$81,086</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$167,040</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>106.00%</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;"><p><strong>Wisconsin</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">25</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">46</p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">$48,962</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center">$77,042</p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>57.35%</strong></p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p>&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p>&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p><strong>Totals</strong></p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center"><strong>231</strong></p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center"><strong>399</strong></p></td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center"><strong>$769,511</strong></p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p align="center"><strong>$1,477,192</strong></p></td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td></tr></tbody></table><p>&nbsp;</p><table style="width: 3px; height: 479px;" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 40px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p>&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap"><p>&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;"><p align="center">&nbsp;</p></td></tr><tr><td style="width: 81px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 113px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 114px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 98px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 102px; height: 20px;" nowrap="nowrap">&nbsp;</td><td style="width: 124px; height: 20px;">&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><p>Source: USDA</p></p> Fri, 23 Dec 2011 19:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/midwest-sees-increase-food-stamps-farmers-markets-95140 Illinois increases number of farmers markets accepting food stamps http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-increases-number-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-88999 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-11/Farmers Market_Flickr_NatalieMaynor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>More low-income Illinois residents are using food stamps at farmers markets – a move that advocates and officials welcome.</p><p>From 2009 to 2010, the value of food stamps spent at Illinois farmers markets jumped to $41,000 from $11,000, a 269 percent increase.&nbsp; Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said she likes that trend because it’s important to connect <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/more-chicago-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-87241">poor people to farmers markets</a>.</p><p>“It’s not only doing ourselves a favor economically in Illinois, but health-wise in Illinois as well,” Simon said.</p><p>This year 49 farmers markets are accepting state-issued LINK food stamp debit cards. That figure is seemingly small, given that Illinois is home to more than 300 farmers markets, and the ones that accept food stamps are clustered in or near urban areas. Simon said Illinois is second only to California in the number of farmers markets accepting food stamps.</p><p>Still, Simon wants more to be done, and she has a particular approach in mind.</p><p>A year ago Illinois legislators created a program to improve retail technology at farmers’ markets. The idea was to help markets purchase machines and other equipment that allow consumers to use LINK. The equipment typically runs about $2,500, but legislators created the program as an unfunded mandate and compliance has not been swift. Simon said she’s looking for private money to jumpstart the initiative.</p></p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 06:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-increases-number-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-88999 More Chicago farmers markets accepting food stamps http://www.wbez.org/story/more-chicago-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-87241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-01/Farmers Market_Flickr_NatalieMaynor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As the summer season begins, Chicago farmers markets are finding new ways to lure shoppers to their produce and fresh products. This year more Chicago farmers markets than ever are accepting food stamps.</p><p>That means more low-income households can buy nourishing food. Accessibility is especially important for families who live in food deserts – communities with a dearth of healthy food options.</p><p><em>Farmers market customer: this is delicious – wow</em></p><p>The 61<sup>st</sup> Street market straddles the Woodlawn and Hyde Park neighborhoods.</p><p>Glossy fruits and&nbsp;vegetables, meats and dairy products are laid out on tables. Freshly baked bread and flaky sweets are on display this Saturday morning.</p><p>And cheeses.</p><p><em>Customer: can I try the goat Gouda?</em></p><p>The 20 vendors set up here are also able to let their customers use&nbsp;Illinois LINK – a debit-like card used like food stamps. That option is&nbsp;important to Victoria Harris.</p><p>HARRIS: Hi, can I try some bread please?</p><p>Harris has loaded up on organic sauces and cheeses so far. She’s at the farmers market because they accept her LINK card.</p><p>HARRIS: I’m 70 years old and these are my grandchildren. I try to feed them nutritiously. And since they take the LINK of course, they enjoy the food.</p><p>She’s guardian of three teenage boys – two are with her today.</p><p>HARRIS: I want them to be exposed to organic food.</p><p>Grandson Alex is looking for an herb plant.</p><p>ALEX: I can incorporate it in eggs and different types of things I cook for breakfast.</p><p>People who push for accessibility to fresh food options want to hear these anecdotes.</p><p>In 2007, only a few city-approved farmers markets accepted LINK. This year there are around 20.</p><p>Connie Spreen is with the Experimental Station, which runs the 61<sup>st</sup> Street Farmers Market. She’s also helping get&nbsp;LINK machines set up at other markets around Chicago.</p><p>SPREEN: The main mission of the market was to try to bring food to the Woodlawn neighborhood and to create a point of access. The Woodlawn neighborhood has been described as a food desert. There is very little access to healthy foods and very few food choices in the neighborhood.</p><p>Here’s how it works for LINK cardholders:</p><p>They shop and decide what they want. The vendor gives them a sheet with the cost of purchase. After they are finished shopping, they go to an on-site station to get the card swiped. They get a receipt and then pick up their items. The vendors are not inconvenienced and the cardholders have a little more privacy.</p><p>The U.S. Department of Agriculture oversees the Illinois LINK program.</p><p>Alan Shannon works in the Midwest region—he says Chicago is a leader in connecting food stamps and farmers markets.&nbsp;</p><p>And he says….that fits with the USDA’s goal of using LINK and farmers markets to help get rid of food deserts.</p><p>SHANNON: If you excuse the pun, a real hunger for fresh produce in these communities.</p><p>Shannon says getting food stamps into more markets&nbsp;doesn’t cost the agency more money. It’s simply giving food stamp recipients a chance to buy organic and fresh.</p><p>SHANNON: It’s really a win-win. It’s going to help local agriculture, it’s local economic development and it also helps improve the nutrition of Americans accessing our programs.</p><p>Daniel Block is a geography professor at Chicago State University and has done neighborhood mapping around food deserts.</p><p>BLOCK: I believe that interest in underserved communities in things like farmers markets is really growing and I get that mainly through sort of the energy I see on the South Side.</p><p>Last year $11,000 in LINK money was spent at Chicago farmers markets. This season, nearly that much in food stamps has already been spent – just since the end of April.</p></p> Wed, 01 Jun 2011 17:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/more-chicago-farmers-markets-accepting-food-stamps-87241