EXPERIMENTAL STATION 2011 ILLINOIS SPECIALTY CROP GRANT FINAL REPORT

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1 EXPERIMENTAL STATION 2011 ILLINOIS SPECIALTY CROP GRANT FINAL REPORT Project Title: 61 st Street Farmers Market Project Summary i) The 61 st Street Farmers Market is located in the Woodlawn neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. For over fifty years, Woodlawn has been subject to all of the worst conditions of urban blight. Among these, the neighborhood suffered the loss of its sources of healthy and fresh foods. With the disappearance of the local supermarkets and corner stores, several generations of Woodlawn residents have been able only to purchase fast foods and junk foods locally. In addition to the negative health impact egregiously high incidence of diet-related diseases the neighborhood has experienced a profound loss of food culture, the knowledge of how to identify, prepare, and enjoy foods such as fruits and vegetables. The Market continues to be almost the sole source of fresh and healthy foods in the area. ii) The 61 st Street Farmer Market was created to address the lack of food access and loss of food culture in our neighborhood. Our educational programming funded by the Illinois Specialty Crops Block Grant has been an important component in bringing customers to the Market who otherwise might not imagine that the Market really is there for them, or who would not know what to do with the fresh fruits and vegetables that the Market brings into our underserved neighborhood. By undertaking robust educational programming that is ongoing, multi-dimensional and multi-generational, it is clear to our customers and our community that our aim is to make fresh and healthy foods available, accessible, affordable, and desirable. Page 39 of 187

2 iii) The 2011 Illinois Specialty Crop Block Grant funding built on outreach and educational efforts undertaken by the Experimental Station/61 st Street Farmers Market since 2008, and compliments previously received funding from the Illinois Department of Agriculture (2010 and 2011) that helped us to create educational materials, provide educational experiences, and develop promotional materials distributed throughout the community. Project Approach In-School Education In 2011, we provided ten in-school food education workshops to 300 youth at four local elementary schools (Carnegie, Fiske, Reavis, and Fermi) and, with Illinois Specialty Crop Grant funding, we were able to produce a Farmers Market Healthy Eating Workbook to use in these in-school workshops. These colorful booklets contain a food journal, seasonality charts, information about how crops are grown and which crops are grown in our region, and simple recipes to make at home. Students were able to keep their workbooks and bring them home to share with their families. On the back cover of the workbook is an advertisement promoting the 61 st Street Farmers Market and our acceptance of LINK. In addition, each student receives $3 in promotional Market Dollars to spend at the Market (vendors reimbursed by the Market). At-Market Education In 2011, Chef demonstrations and Market School activities were planned for 30 market days. Chef demonstrations were provided by volunteer chefs from local restaurants, organizations, cooking schools and small businesses. Volunteer chefs prepared dishes employing seasonal ingredients from the Market, and provided recipes for market-goers. Page 40 of 187

3 Market School activities were provided by volunteers from the Shedd Aquarium (purchasing sustainable seafood), the University of Chicago Medical Centers (nutrition information), Purple Asparagus, Truck Farm (a farm in the back of a truck), Chicago Health Coaches (fun and educational activities to improve health and wellness), Climate Cycle (how to cook in a solar oven), Fooditude (games and activities about local seasonal produce), and numerous other organizations and individuals. Adult/Youth Cooking In 2011, we provided a series of 15 free cooking classes to 20 local youth, who learned how to prepare and enjoy a great variety of fruits and vegetables fresh kale salad becoming their favorite! The classes were taught by chef instructors Gabrielle Darvassy (B Gabs Raw/Vegan Deli) and Samm Petrichos (Subterranean Foods). Approximately youth participated in each class session. Also in 2011, with private funding, we offered a series of three baking classes, in which local youth learned to make their own (healthier) muffins, pies, cookies, and pancakes. As a result of these activities, we have instituted a youth Catering Crew, which will periodically be called upon to whip up healthy snacks for our youth education program. Recipe book In response to requests from Market-goers and Market volunteers, and with funds remaining from the printing of the Farmers Market Healthy Eating Workbook, the 61 st Street Farmers Market will be completing production this winter of a 30-page book of collected recipes from the 61 st Street Farmers Market s past several years. The recipe Page 41 of 187

4 book will be distributed free of charge at the Market information booth to SNAP customers. Advertising In 2011, the 61 st Street Farmers Market created 15 street banners, 100 posters, 7500 halfpage flyers, 2500 refrigerator magnets, 2 newspaper ads, point-of-sale signage, 500 Market dollars, 2500 SNAP Dollars, 50 seasonality charts, and copied approximately 900 recipes. To ensure that Illinois Specialty Crop Grant funds were used only to enhance the competitiveness of Illinois Specialty Crops, the 61 st Street Farmers Market provided $4,743 in matching funds to support the Project. Matching funds were generously provided by a grant from Kraft Foods and LISC/Chicago. Goals and Outcomes Achieved Goal: $5,500 (55%) of total projected SNAP purchases of $10,000 in Outcomes: #1: 2011 marketing and promotional efforts increased our Market clientele from an average of 450 customers per week to approximately customers per week during the 2011 outdoor market season. #2: In 2011, the 61 st Street Farmers Market had 184 SNAP customers, making 479 SNAP transactions totaling $9,996. $6,392 (64%) of this total was spent on Illinois Specialty Crops (up from 57% the previous year). In addition, the 61 st Street Farmers Market s Double Value Coupon Program generated an additional $6,880 in purchases of SNAPallowable foods, of which $4,280 (62.2%) was spent on Illinois Specialty Crops. Page 42 of 187

5 #3: According to data derived from our 2011 Market Survey (designed and implemented on October 1 by University of Chicago Survey Lab Co-Director Martha van Haitsma), 92% of the 436 customers surveyed (80% of the ~550 total customers that day) stated that they came to the Market to purchase fresh produce. 61% stated that the Market had increased or greatly increased their purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables. Goal: 75% of beneficiaries of our educational efforts would report an increased understanding of the nutritional benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables on the Illinois Specialty Crops list. Outcomes: According to our 2011 Market Survey, 62% of Market customers surveyed reported that they had learned something new about sustainably grown, organic or local food as a result of coming to the Market; 47% stated that they had learned more about nutrition and healthy eating as a result of coming to the Market; 39% stated that they had learned more about food preparation as a result of coming to the Market. According to surveys conducted at the completion of the adult and youth cooking classes, 100% of adults surveyed stated that they cooked more meals per week after participating in the Experimental Station s Fall 2010 Adult Cooking classes, 71% stated that they consume more fruits and vegetables since participating in the Adult Cooking classes, 82% of youth participating in the Youth Cooking classes stated that they consumed more fruits and vegetables since taking the classes, 73% of the youth stated that their families eat more fruits and vegetables since they have been taking the classes. 61 st Street Farmers Market Beneficiaries of Illinois Specialty Crops Funding: Page 43 of 187

6 Approximately 550 market customers who have the opportunity each week to watch a chef demonstration, taste the dish that is prepared, and receive the weekly recipe. Approximately 550 market customers who have the opportunity each week to learn from the Market School volunteers. 20 youth from low-income households who participated in the cooking classes. 8 youth from low-income households who participated in the baking classes. Lessons Learned Ongoing Market outreach and promotion are critical to a vibrant farmers market that can weather adverse economic and meteorological conditions. In 2011, adverse weather conditions negatively impacted supplies of local foods sold at Chicago farmers markets throughout May and June. Due to the poor start to the year for agricultural producers, a number of crops did not appear at all at the markets this year. The limited offerings during the first two months of the season led to a decrease in the number of customers attending the markets in May and June. Farmers reported a 20% decline in sales revenues in We believe that the overall decline in farmers market sales is the result both of the slow start to the market season due to poor planting conditions for agricultural producers and to the weak economy; customers are spending less. It is notable that farmers selling at the 61 st Street Farmers Market reported that their sales at our Market held steady. We attribute this to the fact that the Market increased its customer base by approximately the same percentage as the % decline in customer purchases. Contact Person Name: Connie Spreen Phone: Page 44 of 187

7 Page 45 of 187

IL Final Report - 12-25-B-0921 December 2012

IL Final Report - 12-25-B-0921 December 2012 EXPERIMENTAL STATION 2010 ILLINOIS SPECIALTY CROPS GRANT FINAL REPORT TO THE ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE b) Project Title: 61 st Street Farmers Market Education Program c) Project Summary i) The

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