Mission and Background
- To improve the availability of a diverse range of high quality foods.
- To connect local producers and farmers to chefs, restaurateurs, food organizations and the public.
- And, to support small family farms and promote a healthier society through education and appreciation for local, fresh, sustainably raised produce and products.
Green City Market is a nationally recognized marketplace model for distributing, promoting and educating about local sustainably-grown food.
Our Organization Values:
- Education about quality food and its source.
- Farmers who take care of the land.
- Preservation of sustainably farmed land.
- A vibrant thriving community of local farms.
- Consumption of locally grown foods.
Green City Market Organizational Background
Green City Market is a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization celebrating our 12th anniversary. Operating as Chicago’s only truly “green” farmer’s market supporting and promoting local, sustainable agricultural practices, the mission of Green City Market is to provide a marketplace for purchasing sustainably grown food that educates, promotes and connects farmers and local producers directly to chefs, restaurateurs and the greater Chicago community. Our vision is to create a national marketplace model for distributing, promoting and educating about local sustainably-grown food. Green City Market values education about quality food and its source. We value farmers who take care of the land; the preservation of sustainably farmed land; a vibrant thriving community of local farms; and consumption of locally grown foods
Green City Market showcases sustainable practices (and we have been promoting the importance of supporting these practices for over eleven years). Our farmers preserve the land and their growing practices make Green City Market a vital food and environmental enterprise. From that first year in 1998 next to the Chicago Theatre to the present time, Green City Market has morphed into Chicago’s most vital farmer’s market that industry leader Alice Waters calls "the best sustainable market in the country.”
Green City Market’s (GCM) incredible momentum comes from our broad base of support including conscientious and caring farmers and producers, consumers, chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals. It also reflects Chicagoans' increasing concern for a more sustainable food system by improving the quality of food on our table produced by local farmers using organic and sustainable practices that preserves the environment for future generations. GCM's support of these local artisan farmers and producers increases the density of fresh, high-quality, locally produced food in Chicago, and provides the basis for a regional cuisine.
After visiting European sustainable farmer’s markets in 1998, Abby Mandel, chef, author and entrepreneur, returned to Chicago determined to create a similar market in her own city. Green City Market was her brainchild and began as a small startup with nine local farmers in the crosswalk next to the Chicago Theatre. The Market quickly outgrew the location and moved to the south end of Lincoln Park where it currently operates May – October. Four years ago, the Market continued to remain open November – December, first in the Lincoln Park Zoo and later moving to The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
The Market experienced record crowds closing 2008 with over 80,000 visitors – 50% more than the 40,000 in 2007. Our increase in numbers is partially due to the 7,000 square foot tent that was erected in The Notebaert’s Eco-Lot from November – December 2008. The momentum continued into the 1st quarter of 2009 as Green City Market took a step forward by establishing our market as Chicago’s only year round farmer’s market. From January – April 2009, Green City Market continued to operate on the 2nd Floor of The Museum. It was enormously successful and brought in over 20,000 shoppers to The Market. This year, we have seen another record-setting 175,000-200,000 visitors throughout our 2010 season! The message has come through loud and clear: Chicago wants and needs a year round farmer’s market and, most importantly, one that supports local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices.
Abby Mandel (1932 - 2008)
Abby Mandel founded Green City Market in an alley next to the Chicago Theater in 1998 with a handful of farmers and only a few more shoppers. Over the next decade she nurtured the organization, driving it forward with her determination, humor and clear-sighted vision. She made the Market what it is today.
We miss her leadership and cherish her memory.