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Chicago Market Food Co-op Coming To Area, An Option To Grocery Stores

Chicago_Market1Living in Andersonville, there is certainly an abundance of grocery stores from which to choose, but what if you are looking for locally grown or organic products? What about supporting the many small farmers in Illinois and nearby states? What if you love your local farmer’s market but can’t shop on Wednesday afternoon, Tuesday morning or whenever the market is scheduled? And what about shopping for local agricultural products in winter? What if a farmer could sell 40 cases of apples to one place instead of taking smaller numbers of cases to several locations several days a week?

The Chicago Market Co-op could be a great option. A small but eager group met with founder Greg Berlowitz and other steering committee members at the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark, on Saturday morning, Sept. 20. Greg is an environmental attorney by profession but has devoted his full energy to the creation of the Chicago Market Co-op. “In taking my kids to school, I have found that I have to drive 15 minutes, whether to Evanston or another place, to get the kind of products we want,” Greg says. He found thriving co-ops throughout the country but was amazed that none were located in Chicago. There are some co-ops in various stages of formation in the Chicago area, but Chicago Market seems to have sparked considerable interest in the Edgeville area.

Education, information and transparency were common themes throughout the 90-minute meeting—a place where shoppers could learn about preparing and canning products, for example; information about where products were actually grown; transparency of a co-op community where owners could have a say about what products are available or even contribute toward making the store the “bigger, better, beautiful” place that Greg and others have envisioned as they have seen other food co-ops throughout the country.

With almost 500 founding owners having joined in the past three months, 4,000 people on the mailing list and more than 2,500 Facebook “likes” as well as Twitter followers, there is still room for more people to share in the founding ownership. Shop at a community store which could be located anywhere from Edgewater on the north, Roscoe Village to the south and Albany Park to the west. A place where local truly means locally grown sustainable agricultural products. A place where even a professional butcher could prepare locally grown meats.

Product affordability is another strong consideration as this new market grows.  Within a short time, a board of directors will be formed, feasibility study completed and the foundation for Chicago Market laid. Look for information and opportunities for ownership at Chicagomarket.coop


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