Experimental Station

61st Street Farmers Market


since 2008

Farmers markets tend to offer high-quality vegetables at prohibitively high costs, but the 61st Street Market in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood, started by Connie Spreen and Dan Peterman of Experimental Station, has pioneered a radical alternative. Each week over the summer, more than 20 local farmers and vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, cheeses, baked goods and specialty items accept food stamps (LINK/SNAP) and match purchases up to $25 per day through a Double Value Coupon Program. To support a broader culture of nutrition and healthy food, food-focused public educational programs, often conducted by vendors, have been in place since the market’s inception. The result is a sales growth of 1,000% from 2008 to 2010; the market is now championed as a model for farmers markets across the state of Illinois.

Community, Economy, Information, Pleasure
$100,000 annually
3 staff + 15 volunteers
Problem - access to affordable, fresh, and healthy food
Solution - rebuilding food culture through market and education