Thursday, March 20, 2008

Farm-Fresh Produce Coming Our Way?

According to their web site, the Neighbors Project "is a growing movement of a generation of people living in cities who want to connect with their diverse neighbors to improve the neighborhood for everyone."

To this end, they're getting started on a pilot project to bring fresh food and farm produce to the mom-n-pop corner grocery stores in Uptown. Sounds great to us, particularly since the Uptown farmers' markets haven't been all that in summers past.

Interested? Read the web site and get involved.


  1. Are there any mom & pop corner grocery stores in Uptown that aren't gang hangouts and crack dealers as well???

  2. Is that an allegation, an observation or a fact (re: crack dealing)?

  3. My dream would be to open a "classy" market in Uptown. A place where we would not have to fear going into the "mom and pop" corner stores!

  4. The only know of 3 stores in Uptown. 1) Just south of Foster on the east side of Broadway. I forget the name, but it caters to Africans. It's not very well run. It's pretty dirty, smells, and I've never seen "fresh" meat or produce there. Usually both are pretty old. I have no idea how the place passes any inspections.
    2) There's a small corner grocery on Leland & Broadway that's also poorly stocked with anything but fresh produce, at pretty high prices. This place is also not very inviting.
    3) Broadway Market: This place is Asian, and though I've heard great things about its selection, I always find it to be dirty, smell badly, and the customer service is terrible. I feel like they see a criminal in every guest.

    If someone is aware of some nice grocery stores, I'd love to hear about them. Right now, I head to the Polish Village to do my shopping at really great prices for fresh meat and produce.

  5. I'm thinking big. Whatever happened to Chicago's first Public Market in Wilson Yard? Milwaukee has done a phenomenal job with the Milwaukee Public Market that has energized the Third Ward. Detroit has its Eastern Market that brings people of every race, creed and income level to an otherwise desolate neighborhood. And Pike's Place in Seattle is the most vibrant place in the city.

  6. The only know of 3 stores in Uptown.

    There are mom-n-pops all over the place, and I believe those are sort the pilot program is targetting. Wilson/Sheridan; the one cattycorner from JJ Peppers in the old Pasteur Restaurant site; in the Magnolia/Wilson mall; next to the Wilson el; across the street, on Broadway near Leland. When I walk up Broadway to my mechanic at Foster/Broadway, I pass several as well. Those I mentioned are just off the top of my head; I'm sure there are more.

    Many of my neighbors who don't drive or are elderly use those little stores for the majority of their shopping. It would be great to have them get some really outstanding produce. I lived in New York for a while, and the Korean greengrocers who were on every block were the bomb. It would be great to have something like that here.

  7. A program that got affordable, quality produce into corner stores would be a wonderful benefit for elderly people and people who aren't able to get to chain grocery stores for whatever reason. I applaud the effort and a lot of the steps that the "local food" movement is making.

    I hope Inspiration Corporation knew about/was anticipating this pilot program when they decided to hold a cooking class. I posted a long message about that on the "Meanwhile on the 46th Ward" item. Why do people in Uptown ALWAYS have to cobble together their own information?!!? I mean, this is a really good thing for our community and it will help our most vulnerable residents...why do I have to learn about it all on Uptown Update?

    Methinks that when you have an alderman's office that isn't set up to inform and share on a routine basis, this is what you get (even on good issues.)

    On another note, I believe that Catholic Charities on the west side has found a way to distribute vouchers to people for farmer's markets. A green market could be a great thing for all Uptown residents. A well-run voucher program would make it possible for lower income residents and seniors to participate too.

  8. Why do people in Uptown ALWAYS have to cobble together their own information?!!? I mean, this is a really good thing for our community and it will help our most vulnerable residents...why do I have to learn about it all on Uptown Update?

    Methinks that when you have an alderman's office that isn't set up to inform and share on a routine basis, this is what you get (even on good issues.)

    This can't be said enough! It's actually pretty funny that, by not dealing with "the bad apples" (i.e., taxpayers who disagree with her), Alderman Shiller has actually created a very strong, unified, proactive community!

    Would we be this way if we had a responsive alderman? I doubt it.

    So, thanks, Alderman Helen! Every time you dismiss us, ignore us, lie to us, or do something else to piss us off, you're feeding the beast. Remember that.

    (And now you've managed to createe a proactive community in the 48th Ward through your support of and lies about Labor Ready. Mazel Tov! Let's see what we can do about the other neighboring wards, 'kay?)

  9. Ben Jovarsky from the Reader is mystified by the anger generating from Uptown residents. You hit the nail on the head. Helen complains of the bad apples causing polarization within the ward and remains clueless that she's the cause of it.

    Helen's modus operandi has created a nightmare for her. No one can turn this around for her now, not even David Axelrod.

  10. "Ben Jovarsky from the Reader is mystified"...? He seems like a pretty astute dude to me. Is he mystified or just really overwhelmed by the anger? A good reporter should be able to figure out what is going on here in less than 15 minutes.

    Lately, I have been wondering if reporters aren't writing stories about Uptown because there is just no way to write a balanced one anymore. If the standard format for a balanced piece is "these guys say this" but "these folks over here say that" and the alderman is always "unavailable for comment" you can't really write much of a balanced story can you? In addition, the issues are often complex and whoever is against Helen inevitably gets called a classist and insensitive to the needs of people who have no voice. I can see how good reporters who just don't have the time to do all of the digging will not want to get involved in this hot mess. There are other stories to chase.

  11. "Ben Jovarsky from the Reader is mystified"...?

    The Reader always writes at well-timed puff piece about Shiller before each and every Aldermanic election. It drops just weeks before the vote and too late for mere citizens who live here to turn the twisted facts around with our meager resources. How mystifying is that?

    And Ben Jovarsky has been the author of these puff pieces. How mystifying is that?

    The only mystifying thing to me is that he can split his brain to write the TIF revelation series and not see the inherent conflict with his Aldermanic love stories. After all, he is Shiller's Surrogate defending all things with the liberal tag no matter how corrupt or disfunctional. How mystifying is that?

  12. Well, Dan Rather has made mistakes and maybe I have too. I have only read his TIF stuff so I figured that the same reporting skills would extend to other articles. I guess that was a bad assumption to make.

    I am mystified that we don't have reporters all over this place. We have a lot of people who study Uptown and even some documentaries but not as much interest from reporters. There are really some good stories if you are willing to get off the rich/poor gentrifiers/anti-gentrification tropes. If we got one in-depth story, we'd have a lot of copycats and that would be good for exposing stuff. Of course, what I said about the "no comments" hurting balanced stories still applies.

  13. We have to leave Uptown to find a well stocked, reasonably priced produce market. And it's not local or organic. The closest place is Harvest Time on Lawrence.

    Somehow, the concept seems a bit flawed. Produce markets, like Stanley's, require a decent amount of space to stock their fresh produce. A little corner store that sells lots of potato chips, candy and milk, isn't going to have the room and turnover to successfully handle produce. Plus many of people don't use fresh produce as part of their daily diet.

  14. According to Ben in his last piece about Helen, she can't be that bad because she's never been indicted. Ben would never have such low standards for his own alderman. Helen only needs to utter the word "liberal" and he's lost in a trance.

    Ben probably gets frustrated by all the negative comments he gets for the articles he writes about her, but it's like stealing candy from a baby when you knock an article of his because it's usually so full of holes. Helen has his blind spot and he will never see it. He keeps thinking only angry people move to Uptown. Talk about clueless.