Next Chicago mayor needs to be in favor of permanent year-round farmers market

January 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

If you were smart, you caught the last Green City Market of 2010 on December 22. Your last good chance to catch locally grown goodies. I wasn’t that smart, mostly because I sneaked away for an early Christmas, so I missed the last Green City Market.

But I don’t think I realized the long wait in between visits. The next Green City Market is January 15 and the following visit can’t happen all the way until February 12.

This means that the Green City Market will only have 1 day open in a 51-day stretch.

Just so we are clear, this isn’t to blast the Green City Market for a lack of opportunities. The Green City Market would be open more if this were a realistic option (and we love them for what they do).

But this screams for a year-round permanent farmers market structure in the City of Chicago.

Conveniently, we have a mayoral race coming up where we can actually confront the people running for the city’s top spot. And unlike the incumbent, there is a decent chance of having questions answered.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know what a future mayor thinks about the idea of a permanent farmers market in Chicago?

Don’t wait for the press to ask: they are too busy worrying about “consensus” candidates and practicing the phrase “Mayor Emanuel” to concern themselves with such questions.

Building a year-round permanent farmers market seems like an easy idea to get behind. However, just getting the Chicago French Market built took a lot of political capital, not that the market is close to what Chicago ultimately needs.

For whatever reason, Chicago needs political leadership to get such a structure accomplished. And the mayor will be front and center in that battle. So if you are looking for a way to figure out which candidate to vote for, consider the building of a permanent farmers market to be one of your issues.

We will likely never get a building as wonderful as the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, but we should hold out for one similar to the Milwaukee Farmers Market 90 miles north in downtown Milwaukee.

Chicago is the city with the Big Shoulders, a city rich in history of food coming to one center place. This legacy would be a year-round boon to residents and tourists alike, and allow small businesses to have a better chance to sell their wares.

All we need is some political capital and a mayor willing to spend it. Let’s figure out who wants to be that leader to bring us a permanent year-round farmers market.



  1. Jim says:

    I’m not sure that invoking the heavily subsidized, nearly always empty French Market strengthens your argument. I’m also not sure where the battle is. Who is standing up and saying a year-round market is a bad idea? This doesn’t strike me as something needing tremendous political capital (unless you’re calling for heavy government subsidies).

  2. Chad says:

    There is a strong need for a year-round market. Yet it hasn’t seemed a priority under Daley, and nothing got done if Daley wasn’t behind a project.

    Daley also had lots of political capital, yet wouldn’t spend it.

    The French Market has problems because it isn’t what was needed in an odd location. A year-round farmers market in a good location doesn’t require heavy govt. subsidies, and would be great for residents and tourists alike.

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