The Altgeld Gardens Farmers Market: A Personal Perspective


Step through this door to visit Altgeld Gardens’ new farmers market. Photo by Manquaze Allen.

Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program, which is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.

Marguerite Jacobs is the founder of Altgeld Gardens’ new farmers market located at 939 East 130th Place. Mrs. Jacobs, who happens to be my mother, gets her fresh produce and supplies from Pembroke, Illinois. Vegetables, peanuts and fruit are sold at the market for a low price. The food is freshly grown, so there are no chemicals in her vegetables and fruit. Here are a few items that Mrs. Jacobs sells: potatoes, onions, peppers, oranges, carrots and much more.

“Altgeld is a food dessert community. I feel that the younger kids are exposed to so much fat foods and not enough healthy products. The farmers market will give the kids good choices to eat,” said Mrs. Jacobs. She spent much of the time preparing to open the market at Altgeld in June of 2012. Now she is selling her produce and in 10 months her goal is to start selling meat.

Mrs. Jacobs has big plans. Once she starts selling meat, she plans to put together a food bag that will consist of vegetables and two different types of meat for $10. The bags used at the farmers market are environmentally friendly bags. When the residents buy the food, they can bring the bags back to shop again and they can wash the bags. She wants to make it easy for seniors to buy. She even has an Illinois Link machine so the residents can purchase food. She is helping everyone have access to healthy food.

We heard that the CHA wanted to demolish Altgeld Gardens because they said there is nothing happening here. Now we have a store and a place for youth to work. Mrs. Jacobs wants to help youth during the summers, too; she’s paying the youths to help packing the food. She is doing as much as she can to help out the Altgeld community. “Some people think the residents in this area want things for free. We have hard working people living in this neighborhood, and the kids feel like its no hope,” expressed Mrs. Jacobs.

My mother volunteers to show my sister and me that hard work is how you get ahead and that nothing is free. She says that this is a self-sustaining neighborhood and she is willing to do her part to make it happen. Her daily schedule starts with safety patrol from 7:30 am-8:30 am and after that, she spends time in the farmers market. My mother is giving good inspiration to others within the Altgeld community.

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