Another amazing season has come and gone! Over the past 18 weeks, we brought you fresh food, rain or shine (or wind, lots and lots of wind). Overall, we saw almost 300 customers every market day and provided over $1350 in free food to our community through the Link Match grant supported by Experimental Station. Their kindness and generosity has allowed us to make a much deeper impact by providing more healthy food to our neighbors. In addition to Experimental Station, there are a lot of people who work hard to make each market a success, so some thank yous are in order.
First, our vendors – Benton Harbor Bee & Fruit, Black Dog Gelato, Farmer Nick’s, Loyola Urban Ag, Misericordia Hearts & Flour, Mount Atlas Coffee & Tea, Patyk Farm, Phoenix Bean Tofu, Stamper Cheese, and Tamales Express – this market would not be here without you. It is your effort, time, passion, and dedication from early mornings to long nights that make this market happen. We are so grateful that we are able to share in the amazing foods that you produce! Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To our customers: thank you for visiting us, building relationships with us and our vendors, laughing with us, dancing with us, putting up with our bad jokes, becoming our friends, meeting each other, and building such a rich, beautiful community. We are so honored that you spent time with us every week and welcomed us into your family. I hope that we, in return, created a safe, welcoming, and enriching space for you to learn, share, and eat.
Third, the many many folks at Loyola who make this market run from week-to-week. The Office of Sustainability and its Director, Aaron Durnbaugh, have been an incredible resource and support for our team. The staff and faculty of the Institute of Environmental Sustainability who supported and visited the market, especially Dean Nancy Tuchman, Chris Wolff, Rachel Leamon, Shanna Yetman, Brian Ohsowski, and Eniko Racz. Eniko, truthfully, is the magic behind the market, as she processes all of the finances that keep us open every week and our vendors paid! Another big thanks goes to the Department of Community Relations, who provided the funding for our weekly musicians. Other key partners include Campus Safety, Facilities (who literally kept the lights on!), Housekeeping, Lakeside Management, and the Graduate School.
Other key thank yous are due to our partners at the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Police Department, Blaze Pizza, and CVS. Thank you to all of our musicians who kept us dancing and singing all season long, and to our many volunteers who were always kind and eager, no matter what task we set them to.
Finally, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to our Management Team this year: Grace Adams, Emily Martin, and Emily O’Connor. When I hired you, I knew I was bringing on three smart, capable, creative, compassionate ladies. What I didn’t know was how much of a team we would become. From our morning meetings to settling our accounts at the end of the day, your enthusiasm never wavered (ok, there were a couple days when the weather dampened our spirits, but you still got out there!). Your love for each other, for our customers, and for this market and its mission made this season a success. You inspired me to be the best version of myself. I have never been so proud to manage such incredible ladies.
I feel like when it comes time for thank yous, one can never remember everyone they ought to thank. Sometimes I wish I had a magical list that would update itself with a person’s name and the nice thing they did, so that I could just turn to it and say “Oh right! That person and that nice thing!” But until that becomes a reality, I know I will have forgotten someone. If you are that someone, know that you are important, vital, and appreciated.
Thank you all again for a great season. I’ll miss you over the winter months and I look forward to seeing your faces again in June.
Chelsea Denault, Market Manager