The Future of Farmers Markets

As public spaces that collectively attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year in Chicago, farmers’ markets hold immense potential to demonstrate, promote, and engage businesses and residents with circular economy practices. However, markets face many barriers including lack of adequate funding, staffing, information, energy and waste diversion infrastructure, and collaboration, all of which make it difficult to understand and implement circular economy practices at a citywide level.

This project was part of the 2017 grant-awarded ERIF research “Designing Sustainable Systems Solutions”, a partnership between IIT Institute of Design, IIT Stuart Business School, and Plant Chicago, a non-profit organization located on the south side of Chicago with a mission to cultivate local circular economies. The overall goal was to create new strategies for sustainable systems solutions at The Plant, an industrial building located on the south side of Chicago that serves as a co-location and community-building space for local food and beverage businesses. This project focused on building design know-how and capabilities in Plant Chicago.