Chicago’s largest neighborhood will miss out on the opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables from farm cooperatives this summer.
The city of Chicago canceled Austin’s Farmer’s Market, which was set to begin July 10 – well after the opening of city-run markets in other neighborhoods.
Austin Green Team President Mary Peery said she’s disappointed.
“Wow, that means a lot,” Peery says. “People depend on that. It’s been there for a while.”
The produce sold at the Austin Farmer’s Market primarily comes from the Pembroke Farmers Cooperative in Kankakee County.
“I go there because those farmers come from down in Illinois,” Peery says. “The stuff isn’t expensive at all even though it should be, with the costs of farming and all.”
Yescenia Mota, project coordinator for Chicago Farmers Markets, couldn’t be reached Friday for comment, so it’s unclear why city officials canceled the market that had been held in the heart of a food dessert.
But in a story published earlier this year on AustinTalks, Mota described the Austin market as being very small and competing with the popular Oak Park market, also held on Saturday and just a mile or so away.
At that time, Mota said the city was looking for a different location for the Austin market – which was to be held in the Emmet Math, Science & Technology Academy parking lot at Madison Street and Central Avenue – because the lot is tricky to access.
Peery insists that if it’s a matter of location, she and others are willing to scout for a new one.
“Where ever they’ll have it, people will come.