61st Street Farm to Provide Woodlawn with Free Produce – The Real Chi

Posted: May 5, 2020 at 5:42 pm


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A new initiative by 61st Street Farmers Market and Build Coffee seeks to provide free locally sourced foods for low-income Woodlawn residents during the COVID-19 pandemic with their Market Box initiative.

Build Coffee and 61st Street Farmers Market announced the new initiative in late April and asked for donations to fund the boxes. The original goal was to purchase 100 food boxes; however, after surpassing that goal, a new goal was set to secure funding for 200 food boxes. Each Market Box contains food items such as bread, eggs, carrots, asparagus that have been sourced from local farmers. 61st Street Farmers Market and Build Coffee are both part of Experimental Station, an organization that seeks to reshape Chicagos South Side through independent business and educational programming.

We were frustrated by the disparities in access highlighted by COVID-19, and wanted to act quickly to ensure that our neighbors were able to obtain good local food, said Wendy Zeldin of 61st Street Farmers Market about the need for the resource.

The new initiative is also choosing to prioritize Market Boxes to black low-income residents in the Woodlawn neighborhood due to the high impact of COVID-19 among black Chicagoans. According to The Chicago Reporter COVID-19 Map, there are 758 confirmed COVID-19 cases from 3,491 tests in the two zip codes encompassing the Woodlawn area. Of which 565 out the 758 confirmed cases are among black residents, which amounts to 74 percent of all cases in the two zip codes.

We are prioritizing black and low-income residents in the Woodlawn area, as these folks have been disproportionately disadvantaged and harmed by the pandemic, said Zeldin. Additionally, it is, now and always, the market's mission to feed good food to our neighbors.

Woodlawn is also considered a food desert due to 33 percent of the population living more than one mile away from a supermarket or large grocery store, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to Zeldin, besides benefiting Woodlawn residents, the Market Box also aids local farmers who have had trouble selling produce during the pandemic. The Market Box initiative allows those folks to eat local, organic produce for free, while still paying our farmers, said Zeldin.

If you are interested in helping 61st Street Farmers Market distribute more food, you can buy a Market Box for a Woodlawn resident on their website, and if you live in Woodlawn and need assistance, you can request a Market Box here.

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61st Street Farm to Provide Woodlawn with Free Produce - The Real Chi

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May 5th, 2020 at 5:42 pm

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