Loyola’s Farmers Market opens today in Rogers Park

Loyola University Chicago’s annual summer farmers market starts at 3 p.m. today in Rogers Park.

Here is the news from the university:

The Loyola University Chicago Farmers Market kicks off its second season on June 11 at the corner of Sheridan and Albion in Rogers Park. The market, run by Loyola students, will feature 11 vendors providing fresh produce, local dairy, soap, and baked goods each week through October 15, 2012.

The market, whose mission is to increase access to healthy, locally, and sustainably grown foods and goods for a diverse community, is the direct result of a 2011 student project in the University’s Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP): Food Systems course. Conceptualized, planned, and implemented by the students, the market seeks to:

  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious, and locally grown and produced foods to community members in a densely populated urban setting
  • Carry out Loyola’s mission to serve those in need by providing a community gathering place where fresh, nutritious food is affordable
  • Support small growers that apply sustainable agriculture and land conservation practices.
  • Encourage small producers with entrepreneurial spirit
  • Provide a destination where the local community can purchase local and seasonal foods to support the “farm-to-plate” lifestyleThe

The market will have summer and fall hours during the season. Summer hours include every Monday, 3- 7 p.m., from June 11-September 24. Fall hours include every Monday, 2-30-6 p.m., from October 1-October 15, 2012. For more information, please visit LUC.edu/farmersmarket.

The Loyola Farmers Market is also an opportunity for students to better understand the economic and environmental forces shaping the food system in an urban neighborhood and develop values-based leadership. Students help run the market each year by identifying vendors, setting the hours, and promoting the opportunity to local residents and other Loyola students. Kelsey Horton, a 2012 Loyola graduate, has been involved in the market since the beginning.

“There’s a world of difference between discussing food issues in class and watching farmers pull their trucks into the market every week to earn a livelihood,” says Horton. “I am lucky that through Loyola I had the opportunity to see both sides and gain real world skills in running a market, coordinating volunteers, and getting the word out to local customers.”

This year, the market has filed with USDA to accept LINK Cards and Senior Food Coupons. Gina Lettiere, sustainability specialist at Loyola expresses how important this is for the University and its farmers market.

“We recognize our location on the edge of Rogers Park and Edgewater puts us close to over 11,000 households that receive food stamp benefits, and nearly 20 percent of the local residents are senior citizens,” said Lettiere. “In keeping with the University’s Jesuit tradition of social justice and community engagement, the market is a local resource that provides residents access to healthy foods.”

To check the status of LINK Card acceptance at the market, please visit LUC.edu/farmersmarket.

STEP is a multidisciplinary course within Loyola’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Policy (CUERP) that explores global environmental problems within ecological, historical, social, political, and economic contexts. Since fall 2007, STEP has featured topics on energy, water, and food. Outcomes include the recent bottled water ban, an extensive biodiesel program, and a food composting project, among many others.

Other outcomes of the STEP food class include a demonstration garden and green roof farm in Rogers Park and a sustainable student farm at the Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The demonstration garden, located at Winthrop and Loyola Avenue, and the green roof farm, located on the fifth floor terrace of the Quinlan Life Sciences Center, allow students to gain experience in planning and growing food in an urban setting. Students learn about plant biology, seed starting, green house production, soil health, season extension, and sustainable farming methods. The produce grown in these gardens is donated to a Rogers Park food pantry. For more information on CUERP and its efforts, please visit LUC.edu/cuerp.



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