Producer Spotlight: The Urban Canopy

Mushroom_Farm-17Our favorite thing about the Plant Chicago Farmers Market is all of our wonderful local vendors!  The Urban Canopy has supplied the market with fresh produce and other delicious local goods since our summer 2016 season. Kelsey, UC’s market manager, gives us the scoop below. Cover photo by Matthew Bowie. 

THE URBAN CANOPY

The Inspiration:

My personal experiences that brought me to The Urban Canopy began with my experience working around food education and accessibility issues with young children. Teaching children how to grow, maintain, and cook vegetables directly from the ground made an incredible and immediate impact of their eating and activity habits. I loved seeing children engage with their environment and then take what they learned home to their parents and communities. The children I worked with started to breakdown the conventional food model and recreate a more sustainable future for themselves.

Favorite Thing About the Job:

My favorite part about working in the urban agriculture field is being able to show that this work can be socially and financially viable for people. The Urban Canopy has shown me that this business model can sustain the environment, people’s financial needs, and strengthen the social fabric that holds communities together. My work everyday impacts Chicago and Midwest communities for the better and I am honored to be a part of this movement.

Engagement in the Local Circular Economy:

The Urban Canopy promotes a local food system through everything we do. We strive to grow more food in urban areas that lack access through our Outdoor Farm in Englewood. We help get more of that local and organically grown food to consumers at over 14+ farmers markets year round and through our LUCSA (Local Unified CSA) program that delivers over 2,000 shares a year. We aim to close the loop through our Compost Club that pick up food scraps from over 500 households in the city of Chicago. We are a business that is dedicated to supporting a local system of growing, eating, and composting valuable nutrients in the city of Chicago.

Experience at The Plant: 

It is very inspiring to work in close proximity with so many amazing businesses who are contributing to a growing local food system in Chicago. Pleasant House Bakery, Whiner Beer Co., and Arize Kombucha are often featured in our LUCSA shares. The Plant Chicago Farmers Market is a consistent event on our calendar and we look forward to returning again this year. Bike A Bee will be housing a few bee boxes on our farm and we are excited to have them buzzing around with us. We have strong partnerships with so many tenants who are contributing to the good food movement and we are excited to continue supporting them in the future.

On the Plant Chicago Farmers Market:

We offer a variety of products that we grow as well as products from our farm partners who help make this local food system more resilient and possible. The Urban Canopy sells wheatgrass at every farmers market as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables, and valued added products some of which come from River Valley Ranch, Nichols Farm and Orchard, Ellis Family Farms, and Videnovich Farms.

Other Exciting Announcements: 

We are accepting applications for our Summer LUCSA program! Spots fill up quick so please apply before April 1st to get more details on our Early Bird special. We are also NOW Hiring for the Summer 2017 Season. If anyone is interested in working with The Urban Canopy please fill out the questionnaire on our website to begin the interview process.

Be sure to visit the friendly Urban Canopy crew at the next Plant Chicago Farmers Market to check out what’s fresh & in season! 

 

 

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