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New location, new vendors: Loyola's Farmers Market brings more to your table

By: Elizabeth Romanski

The Loyola Farmers Market returns for its fourth season, Monday, June 9, bringing fresh produce, baked goods and local dairy to its new Loyola Plaza location, just steps from the Loyola stop on the CTA Red Line.

The market features 12 vendors, including a new booth selling goods from the Loyola Institute of Environmental Sustainability's Urban Agriculture Program.

“The Urban Ag stand is key, as the food is grown on the Lake Shore campus,” said Gina Lettiere, Sustainability Specialist for Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability, who oversees the student-run market. “Along with produce and herbs, they will sell tilapia.”

The fish are raised through an aquaponics system in Loyola’s Ecodome and are only available by pre-order. At the market, shoppers can also indulge in D-ology’s gluten-free baked goods, choose from a variety of pesto by Presto Pesto or grab a hot tamale to-go at Tamale Express.

 The idea for the market stemmed from a student project in Loyola’s Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP): Food Systems course in 2009, and the market was launched two years later.  

Kelly Hof, 21, a senior environmental studies major, said she sees her role as a member of the market management team as an opportunity to learn more about local food systems.

“I feel that my generation greatly lacks a connection to food,” said Hof. “We have grown up with supermarkets and not knowing where our food comes from. As stewards to our community, Loyola has provided an excellent opportunity for both students and the Rogers Park community in bridging the gap between farm-to-table food accessibility.”

If you’re new to the farmers market scene, visit every tent to see all of what is available, said Karla Mracek, 30, a social work graduate student and is also on the market management team.

“And definitely be adventurous with your purchases,” Mracek said. “Try a new item that you haven’t had before, whether it be a fruit, veggie, bread, sauce, jam, meat. There is so much to offer.”

The market, which accepts LINK cards and SFMNP vouchers, opens its season on Monday, June 9, and is open every Monday through October 13, with summer hours from 3 to 7 p.m.