Who We Are Our Founder

ABBY MANDEL (1932 - 2008)

Abby Mandel was an accomplished food writer, with columns for the Chicago TribuneChicago Sun-Times, and Bon Appetit and author of several cookbooks, including Celebrating the Midwest TableMore Taste Than TimeAbby Mandel's Cuisinart Classroom, and more.

Green City Market was Abby’s brainchild and began as a small startup in 1999 with nine local farmers in the crosswalk next to the Chicago Theatre. The market quickly outgrew the location and migrated to the south end of Lincoln Park where it currently operates May through October. After visiting sustainable farmers markets in Europe in 1998, Abby returned to Chicago determined to create a similar type of marketplace in her own city. 

Rick Bayless, chef and owner of Frontera Grill and Board Member Emeritus of Green City Market, commented, "She was just so tenacious about the mission of the market, staying positive and growing and promoting sustainability."

ABBY'S LEGACY: The Growth of Green City Market

In 2008, with the addition of the Indoor Market, Green City Market became a year-round market, remaining open November through April, first in the Lincoln Park Zoo and now in The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, in order to feed Chicagoans and keep our farmers in business all year long. In 2014, Green City Market expanded to a third location, GCM West Loop, which began in a local parking lot and then migrated to Mary Bartelme Park in 2018. 

In 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Green City Market was forced to shutter its in-person operations for nearly three months. In response, Green City Market rapidly developed and launched GCM Delivered, an innovative online ordering and home delivery platform, designed to keep our farmers connected to shoppers and to provide a safe option for Chicagoans to access the food they need. 

Today, Green City Market welcomes over 175,000 shoppers in the course of a season and continues to operate GCM Delivered and GCM Curbside in order to help farmers diversify their revenue streams, maximize their reach, and make locally-grown food accessible to as many Chicagoans as possible. 

Learn more about Abby's legacy in Green City Market's mission, programs, and impact. 

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