Mission & Background
Green City Market is paving a new path for the local food economy in the Midwest by deepening our support for small family farmers, educating consumers and the next generation of eaters, and increasing access to local, healthy, sustainable food.
Green City Market is a leading organization using our voice locally and nationally to fight for the survival of small family farmers who grow clean, healthy food.
We believe every Chicagoan has the right to clean healthy food - and work to provide access to everyone regardless of zip code or income level.
We are passionate about educating consumers and the next generation of eaters about where food comes from, how it’s grown and why it matters.
Addressing threats to family farmers, the safety of our food system and the health of our communities drive our work.
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.
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. In 2008, the Green City Market became year round, remaining open November-April, first in the Lincoln Park Zoo and now in The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.
The message has come through loud and clear: Chicago wants and needs a year round farmers market and, most importantly, one that supports local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices. The Market continues to experience crowds of over 175,000 visitors per year. 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 farmers market. Industry leader Alice Waters calls it "the best sustainable market in the country.”
Green City Market showcases sustainable practices and is proud to be the first farmers market in the country to require all of its farmers to be certified by a nationally recognized 3rd party agency. Our farmers preserve the land and their growing practices make Green City Market a vital food and environmental enterprise.
Green City Market’s incredible momentum comes from our broad base of support, including conscientious and caring farmers and producers, consumers, chefs, restaurateurs, and other culinary professionals. By supporting local artisan farmers and producers Green City Market increases the density of fresh, high-quality, locally produced food in Chicago, and provides the basis for a regional cuisine.
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.