Posted Oct 21, 2022
This year, climate tech company Arcadia became a sponsor of Green City Market. Arcadia is on a mission to fight the climate crisis by enabling a zero-carbon economy.
Their community solar program allows both renters and homeowners alike to support a cleaner power supply for Illinois without extra costs, installations, credit checks, or changes to their supplier — and lowers their monthly power bills in the process. It all comes down to securing benefits for the most people possible. That’s why Arcadia has gladly sponsored our SNAP-matching program, GCM For All, this season.
Last year, the GCM For All program allowed individuals and families with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to double their purchasing power at our markets with a 1:1 match up to $15 dollars.
At the start of the 2022 market season, Arcadia’s sponsorship allowed GCM to raise our matching program to $25 dollars per market. Plus, Experimental Station’s LinkUp Illinois program is funding an additional match of up to $25 — taking the program from a 1:1 match to a 2:1 match.
As a result, folks facing food insecurity who spend $25 dollars in benefits at the market get to take home $75 worth of food at no extra cost to them.
1 in 7 people in Chicago regularly struggle to access nutritious food — we're working to make sure that great, locally- and sustainably-sourced food is available and accessible to all, no matter where you live or what you make. Arcadia’s sponsorship has allowed us to deepen our support for our neighbors in need.
Thanks to the Arcadia and Experimental Station, by the end of September, GCM had hit a new milestone with over $100,000 in SNAP currency distributed to neighbors in need at our markets.
GCM distributed $108,809 in SNAP benefits and matching funds from the start of the season to the end of September. At the end of last season, we had only distributed $53,866. That is a 102% increase in SNAP distribution and we still have 8 more weeks of markets to factor into our 2022 season data.
Arcadia COO & co-founder, Kate Henningsen said,"It’s incredible to see how the GCM for All program has flourished with a growing network of intentional partnerships, and we are so grateful to be part of its impact. At Arcadia, we believe that climate action is the most effective when it puts community at the center. That's why we're doing more to support those living near the community solar farms we manage."
Beyond just helping us work towards our goal of expanding food access, Arcadia’s sponsorship has also helped us with another pillar of GCM’s mission.
At a traditional grocery store, US farmers only receive around 17 cents of every dollar you spend on food, according to the Farmers Market Coalition. At a farmers' market, farmers receive 100% of your dollar. Green City Market believes farmers' markets are a powerful instrument of a local food system, and we're dedicated to creating widely accessible marketplaces for local food in Chicago where farmers can make a living wage.
By increasing the amount we can match in SNAP benefits, Arcadia has directly helped to generate more revenue for our local, sustainable farmers and food producers.
In August alone, our GCM For All program generated $25,864 for our vendors. In August of 2021, GCM For All generated $9,246.00 for our vendors. This is more than a 179% increase in the dollars going directly into the pockets of the individuals growing our food.
"Our farmers are on the front lines of climate change,” said Henningsen. “Farmers Powering Communities allows more farmers to tap into a new, sustainable revenue stream that brings renewable energy — and guaranteed power bill savings — to communities across the country. Arcadia is determined to maximize our collective impact by helping expand access to the economic and environmental benefits of community solar to all."
Interested in connecting to a local community solar farm with Arcadia? New members who join Arcadia at GCM will receive $100 toward their power bill as a thank-you for helping grow the good energy in our local power supply.
In addition to sponsoring GCM, Arcadia partners with other organizations to expand their support of the farming community in the United States. Arcadia recently partnered with American Farmland Trust and Edelen Renewables with the goal of increasing solar farms across the country.
Here at GCM, we’re incredibly grateful for the impact that Arcadia’s support has had on our community of farmers and our neighbors in need. We’re excited to see what the future holds for Arcadia.