By Karen Terry
Sometimes a bunch of broccoli is just a bunch of broccoli.
And sometimes it is a political statement.
As summertime approaches, Evanston’s farmers’ markets are gearing up for another season of selling fresh produce, breads, artisanal cheeses, flowers and more at locations around the City. This year, open-air markets will operate at four sites – in the
With their street musicians, local artists and not-for-profit groups selling fresh baked goods, the markets can be seen simply as an opportunity to make weekly food shopping more enjoyable.
Shopping at the farmers’ markets can also be a vote for sustainable lifestyles that include eating more fresh foods grown closer to home.
“Agriculture is one of the biggest consumers of fossil fuels in this country,” says Debbie Hillman, co-chair of the Evanston Food Policy Council and a member of the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force. “About 80 percent of
Historically, farmers’ markets have been the norm, not a seasonal event. As long as there have been cities with hungry bellies in them, there’s been demand for food from the neighboring countryside. The rise of supermarkets and suburbs in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, though, took a toll on farmers’ markets, which lost their urban client base even as the number of small family farms dwindled.
Today, those trends are becoming reversed themselves. The number of
Downtown Farmers’ Market
A few blocks west, the West End Market will open on June 6 at the corner of Church and Dodge. Market hours are 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. In addition to fresh produce and flowers, the West End Market will offer handmade goods, crafts and entertainment until Oct. 31.
Ridgeville and YMCA Markets
Shoppers unable to wait until Saturday can turn to midweek markets operated by the Ridgeville Park District (corner of
and Elmwood) or the McGaw YMCA (
.). The Ridgeville Farmers’ Market opens for its third season on June 3 and will feature – in addition to fresh produce – vendors of artisanal cheese, fresh-roasted coffee, goat’s milk soaps and alpaca yarns.
Starting June 24, the McGaw Y will return for another season with a market open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays.
As farmers’ markets grow in popularity, year-round operations are sprouting in numerous locales, including
The City of
Karen Terry is a board member of The Talking Farm, an initiative of the Evanston Food Policy Council (EFPC), a citizens’ group working to ensure access to a safe and diverse regional food supply and to foster awareness of healthy food choices. For more information about EFPC, please call Debbie Hillman at 847-328-7175.