West Side Market Returns Outdoors Amidst Pandemic
EAST GARFIELD PARK - Despite the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market has officially returned to the West Side this summer.
On July 11. a long line of cars filled The Hatchery’s parking lot as some shoppers waited safely within their vehicles to place an order. Others chose to wait in-person sporting face coverings and masks. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 6th annual market returned outdoors, just a year after the market was permanently placed inside The Hatchery, a non-profit food incubator. Similar to years past, the marketplace featured several West Side vendors. The opening day lasted from 10:00 a.m until 2:00 p.m.
Drivers wait in line to purchase products at The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market in The Hatchery’s parking lot on July 11. 2020. Photo by Mariah McBride.
The Garfield Park Garden Network, one vendor at the market, sold customers various greens, cucumbers, string beans, and even flowers. All their items were priced at $1 per bag. Other businesses such as Fulton Street Flower and Vegetable Garden offered visitors honey, jelly, fermented foods and more. Their product prices ranged from $3 to $15. Additionally, shoppers were also able to purchase baked goods from seller Ms. Gina’s Medley and even body products at Basix Rx.
The Garfield Community Council shares a flier on Facebook listing The Garfield Neighborhood Market’s vendors for opening day. Photo courtesy the Garfield Community Council.
Vendors display their fresh vegetables on sale at The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market on July 11. 2020. Photo by Mariah McBride.
Originally, The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market was a community initiative started by The Garfield Park Community Council (GPC) in 2014. At the time, vendors sold their products within a big empty lot which is now The Hatchery. Over the last six years, the market’s vendor size has grown. Currently, The Garfield Neighborhood Market is hosted by GPC along with incubators, Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago (ICNC), The Hatchery Chicago, and Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana. Angela Taylor, The Wellness Coordinator at The Garfield Park Community Council shared how important it was for all their organizations to continue this initiative during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taylor said, “The neighborhood market was born out of the community, to have the ability to have a presence, during this time of the pandemic, brings a sense of hope to us all. ”
The Wellness Coordinator at The Garfield Park Community Council Angela Taylor (left) helps a customer (right) with their purchase at The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market on July 11. 2020. Photo by Mariah McBride.
According to The Hatchery, located 135 N. Kedzie, the products and produce sold at the annual market are from the food entrepreneurial community of the West Side. Resident purchases help support The Garfield Park Garden Network as well as the other West Side food entrepreneurs participating in this trade forum. After an agreement with the city of Chicago and conducting business with the GPC, The Hatchery now offers services like training and mentorship to West Side entrepreneurs from Garfield Park, North Lawndale, West Humboldt Park, and Austin. The organization website states the company “enables local entrepreneurs to build and grow successful food and beverage businesses.”
In addition to being outdoors this year, The GPC has enacted other safety rules in order to prevent and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus. According to their protocol, visitors must wear a mask and practice social distancing. At the market visitors will have access to free-reusable masks. For more information on other rules visit market visitor protocol.
The Garfield Park Community Council (GPC) promotes The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market on Instagram July 7. 2020. Photo courtesy of GPC.
In the future The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market will be open every second Saturday of each month until Oct. from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Hatchery. For regular updates and information on the outdoor market check The Garfield Park Neighborhood Market’s event Facebook page.
Taylor said, “The opening of the market was wildly successful, we hope the community continues to come out and share the hope of the market being a success.”