Despite the occasional spring shower turning into a snowy flurry, we at Faith in Place know that winter is truly behind us now that the Winter Farmers Markets (WFMs) have officially wrapped. With 17 markets, 38 vendors, and over 3,000 attendees, the impact of Faith in Place has been felt throughout Chicagoland.
The itinerant market style allows vendors to attend as many events as they can. This meant that some vendors were with us just once while others were at almost every market. Many of these wonderful people continue their work at summer markets throughout the state. Check out this list to find out where many of our vendors will be this summer!
Our long-time partner The Urban Canopy provided fresh produce, like these carrots, beets, and turnips, at 15 of our 17 markets this season.
This WFM season further developed our partnership with Experimental Station, an organization on the South Side that provides services to support local and cultural needs through innovative programs. Experimental Station funds our Link Match program, allowing customers who buy products with Link to earn up to $25 of credit that they may spend on produce at any winter market. Link Sales were up by 28% from the past season, and Link Match was up by over 50%.
Part of this success was due to the opportunity to offer an increase in the Link Match amount at one of our market’s this season. Customers spent more on general Link items in order to take home more produce using the Match credits. When this happens, customers and vendors both go home happier than they would have been without the Link Match opportunity.
Our farmers markets would not be possible without the space offered in-kind by 17 unique host-sites. Faith in Place and the hardworking volunteers from these hosting houses of worships planned special programing to make the usual market even more exciting.
Programing seen throughout the season included diabetes screenings, a celebration of the Jewish holiday Tu BiShvat, our second annual Black History Month celebration, a One-Earth Film Festival screening, and a Faithful Citizens Workshop.
Thank you to everyone for your involvement and dedication to making these markets fresh and unique for your communities!
One third of our vendors and roughly one quarter of our host sites were new this season. Each year, we reflect with gratitude on our partners, new and old, that have helped make a difference. The Winter Farmers Markets of Faith in Place have been Rooted and Growing throughout Chicago for the past ten years, and we hope to see many of you again next season!
Green Vibes Farming LLC is a microgreen startup from 14 year-old Edward Neiman. Green Vibes was one of 12 new vendors to join Faith in Place this season.
Vendors and Host Sites: Applications will go up at the beginning of June.
This post was written by Liam Fraser, who served as our 2018-2019 Lutheran Volunteer Corps member.