Chicken and the Egg: The Making of a Farmer’s Market

Chicken and the Egg: The Making of a Farmer’s Market

Help us get more people at our markets! Our Englewood market is right next to a Popeyes and we have to compete with that smell in the air. 

In order to start a successful market, you need to have vendors for things that people in the area want, but to get vendors to come, you need to have an audience for them to interact with. A market can not thrive without both: a captive audience and committed vendors. 


River Valley Ranch Mushrooms and Sauces


The veggies and fruits we bring to the market taste great but they somehow taste better when we combine them. Through a slow cooking, we make it delicious. But our culture now values convenience over anything else. We aim to show just how delicious, quick and nutritious is possible and this is especially important towards younger people. 

Our demos bring so many people to our markets! Young and old folks get to taste the stuff that our Chefs cook right from our tables. We strongly believe Chefs will bring people in and help our markets thrive! Help us have more Chef demos and improve our markets this summer by donating to our campaign! To read more about it and contribute, follow this link:

-The Urban Canopy Crew

Chef Demos: A Way to Learn, Eat, and Connect

A Chef In The Hood.

The Hunger Hideout.

Chesa’s Gluten Tootin’ Free Food Truck.


What do all of these people have in common? They’re all amazing chefs, here in our city of Chicago, that share a common goal of educating our communities on how easy it is to use the myriad of foods at farmer’s markets to cook meals at home.

In today’s world, home cooked meals are becoming less and less common. People go to farmers markets and purchase foods that they’re familiar with, such as blackberries or tomatoes, and overlook items that they don’t recognize or are unsure of how to pronounce. Many times, this is due to lack of education about the food, resulting in them never having tasted the food or not knowing how they can use it in their meals. Chef demonstrations can help to fill this void.

Cooking demonstrations at farmers markets helps to increase attendance and create excitement around the market, but most importantly, they allow our chefs to educate others about the various ways that locally-grown food can be integrated into our everyday lives. These live demonstrations provide customers with an avenue to both learn about and purchase the foods that they are seeing transformed right in front of their eyes.

We, at The Urban Canopy, know how effective these demonstrations are and we want to help these chefs thrive by bringing more cooking demos to farmers markets around the city.

The Urban Canopy is an organization that has a goal of creating a local food cycle by growing food, distributing food and making compost. We participate in farmer’s markets in various food insecure neighborhoods around Chicago, which consist of communities that struggle to find access to local, organic produce. We have seen first handedly the colossal success of these chef demonstrations and we want to make them more readily available to our various communities.

Currently, we are working to implement chef demonstrations around five, local farmers markets in the city of Chicago. Through these events, we want to provide our communities with more educational resources, while also paying our chefs for their time.

The Urban Canopy is running a fundraiser to gather funds to pay these chefs, which can be found HERE. We would love if you would help us by donating money to create a sustainable fixture for these chefs that would benefit everyone involved.

Thank you in advance for your help with our efforts to bring more chef demonstrations to farmer’s markets around Chicago!

- The Urban Canopy Crew


Too Many Farmer’s Markets? No! Not Enough Demand for Local Food -- Help us create it!!!

Too Many Farmers Markets? No! Not Enough Demand for Local Food - Help us create it!

Too Many Farmers Markets

Nothing brings us closer than sharing food with each other. Help us share more food with our neighbors by funding our Chef Demos. 

We are a boot strap organization. We are for profit because we want to be independent. We want to tackle local food access in many ways using values that promote compassion collaboration and opportunity. We want these demos to be help make these markets financially sustainable. What better way than sharing food with our neighbors.

With help from senior coupons, WIC coupons, link sales, double value coupons (check them out!) and now even doctor prescription for healthy food, these markets are growing closer to the point where they can self sustain as parts of our local food system.

Contribute to our GoFundMe to increase these chef demos and bring more people to the markets. To read more about it and donate follow this link:

-The Urban Canopy Crew


The Urban Canopy is GROWING!

Hello Community!

The spring is nearing fast and we have begun to organize our efforts for this upcoming season. The canopy will be bigger than ever this year and we are looking for inspired, motivated individuals that want to help make an impact on our local food system and community. If you have any interest in joining our crew, we want to hear from you!

The winter is a transformative time for our organization, when we plan on how to evolve from seasons past. This year we want to open the opportunity to join our crew to a larger audience. To do this, we have created a "Pre-Interview" questionnaire.  

People looking for seasonal, part-time, full-time or volunteering options are encouraged to submit this form!  You can find it by clicking on this link. If you have any issues accessing this form or have any further questions, please email

Thank you!


November is NOT the End

The 2015 summer season has come and gone. But there is plenty to do at the farm despite a change in seasons. 

The opportunity to grow food in Chicago is enormous. We think of it as a harsh climate but the plants at the farm don't seem to mind! (Just ask our Arugula)

And although the trees look barren and the cold wind makes you believe nothing would want to thrive outside, there's plenty of life above and below the soil. And it's important to take care of it. 

There are many crops to harvest still. The collards, chard, the kales, lettuce, mustards are all still growing. And although you're not going to live of off eating these greens, you can make a living by selling them all over the city, while being part of an urban ag organization and the Chicago community.

A great deal of what we do tries to create synergy. This idea is often explained as "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". Or another way of putting it is that 1 plus 1 does not equal 2 but rather much more. We can see this idea everywhere in natural ecosystems, like when wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone.

Mimicking nature and creating synergy is behind much of what we do at The Urban Canopy.

We grow connections in our community that produce much much more than a simple customer-vendor relationship. These connections allows us to sell the food that we grow, spread the ideas we believe in and connect us to others who are like minded and we collaborate. 

We grow food, sell to our community of good food eaters and we make sure all the left overs are returned back to the earth where they will decompose again into fertile soil. 

Check out our oFarm Branch Lead Matthew Phillips, inspecting the compost we have created from valuable nutrients that were diverted from landfills by the choice of hundreds of residents through our city. Including our partner restaurants and their patrons. 

We can't thank enough all of the people that support us and we have formed relationships with. These relationships are just as important as the fertility of the soil. And with every farmer's market interaction, or pleasant exchange while delivering a LUCSA share, we know for a fact, we are doing the right thing.

And we will do it far beyond the seasons end....

A bouquet to celebrate all our supporters and an amazing 2015 season

A bouquet to celebrate all our supporters and an amazing 2015 season

Stay tuned for more updates on the 2015 season! Now that the hardest part of the season is over, we turn to the digital realm to help us grow The Urban Canopy! ( ;



Kiva Zip Loan

Kiva Zip Loan

We are happy to announce that we are registered to accept loans through a crowd-funded micro-lending service called Kiva Zip. Kiva is the first and largest micro-lending service in the world, and has distributed 658 million dollars over 10 years, in 85 different countries, among 1.5 million small businesses. The funds from this loan will go towards our outdoor farming operations here in Chicago.

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