By: Mao Reynolds (Loyola Sophomore)
Tucked inside a train stop alleyway, a sea of sun hats and tote bags is covered by cloud-white tents and cedar-red pergolas. It’s Glenwood Sunday Market, and it’s welcoming the morning with open arms.
Glenwood Sunday Market is a farmers’ market located between Morse and Lunt avenues. The market is part of local non-profit Rogers Park Business Alliance and features a wide variety of vendors.
One vendor is Loyola Urban Agriculture, an initiative run by students at Loyola University Chicago. The program sells fresh produce to the market in summer and fall and supplies other stores, such as the campus-adjacent Archie’s Café, during winter and spring.
RogersEdge Reporter spoke to program assistant Ericka Gonzalez-Guzman
about Loyola Urban Agriculture’s place at the market.
Gonzalez-Guzman, a 28-year-old environmental science student, said she grew up in Mexico City and moved with her family to Illinois in 2014. She said farmers’ markets in Mexico are bigger and have more sellers from the campo, the countryside, than the U.S.
Gonzalez-Guzman said she became involved in the program when the pandemic began.
“The pandemic uncovers so many fails in the system,” Gonzalez-Guzman said. “I started to realize, like, how fragile our food systems are. I was like, ‘Okay, I need to find out how to make this better and how to sustain myself if there’s any other pandemic.’”
While the market may focus on products, the people are also important. Gonzalez-Guzman said one customer comes most Sundays riding a bicycle to buy arugula for her two parrots.
“The people, the vendors are different,” she said, “but they all come here and they enjoy to see whatever we have.”
Gonzalez-Guzman said she hopes the market raises awareness of other organizations, such as Food Not Bombs, which distributes food to each chapter’s local neighborhood.
“I’m so grateful to be part of something that is teaching me how to balance business and also making connections with the community,” Gonzalez-Guzman said.
Couples, friends and single customers ebbed and flowed between the stalls. Some were accompanied by baby strollers while others walked their dogs.
Customer Ellen Braverman said she liked the market’s produce and pastries. While talking to RogersEdge Reporter, she had been sitting between the tents and the train stop, reading a book and eating a scone from one of the market’s bakeries.
“I’m usually just looking for what fruits and vegetables work best,” she said. “I love whenever I can get fresh carrots. They taste so much better than the ones you get at a grocery store.”
Braverman, who said she’d lived in Ohio and California, said Glenwood Sunday Market was the first farmers’ market she’d attended regularly. She said the location made her more inclined to shop at the nearby businesses.
Braverman said she’d like to see the market include more vendors in the future while keeping its smaller, less overwhelming size.
“I just hope it stays here and keeps going, because it’s a really nice little tradition,” Braverman said.
Amelia Lorenz, who runs an ice pop stand called The Stick Up, said the farmers’ market’s community felt like home.
At first, Lorenz said, she just wanted to sell popsicles, but the business became “life-giving.”
“My partner was in graduate school, I was a young mom, and we just sort of had visions of, like, hanging out at a farmers’ market all summer,” she said. “This seemed like the place to do it.”
A few featured popsicle flavors were blueberry matcha, cantaloupe Campari and basil lemonade.
Lorenz said The Stick Up partners with local farms and changes flavors based on seasonal produce, including Hardin’s Family Farm, a neighboring tent.
Food isn’t the only product at Glenwood Sunday Market. Perry Plescia runs the Grayslake-based Honeyworks, which sells clover honey; bee byproducts such as wax, candles and wraps; and beekeeping equipment.
Plescia, a Chicago native, said his Masters degree in accounting meshed well with the management of beekeeping. He said he’s been beekeeping for about 30 years and has worked with the market for about six years.
“We thought, ‘We have beeswax, we could do that,’” Plescia said. “It’s really
caught on that everybody’s getting away from using plastic, so it’s really an environmental thing. We feel glad to provide that.”
Plescia said he likes Glenwood Sunday Market because it runs smoothly and goes from June through October, unlike some farmers’ markets which stop after Labor Day.