Oak Park, IL - PCC Austin Produce Market's fifth season begins on Tuesday, June 2 with a new twist: organically grown produce grown on-site by PCC Community Wellness Center (PCC). Instead of simply telling patients to eat well, the community health center is providing easy access to produce within the Austin community. Produce grown on the farm will be harvested and sold at the market. First harvest picks will include mustard and collard greens, kale, radishes, lettuce, and scallions.
This summer, the market will be held every Tuesday from June 2 to October 27, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. as well as the second Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Selling produce to nearby distributors and food service organizations will contribute to self-sufficiency. “We have already sold spinach to a local distributor,” said Robert J. Urso, PCC President and CEO. “This is a great first step to having a sustainable urban farm."
By cultivating a farm, PCC hopes to help meet Austin and neighboring communities' need for produce and to help alleviate health issues, such as obesity, that thrive in food deserts (urban neighborhood that lacks adequate access to affordable, healthy food).
The PCC Austin Community Farm, located at 330 N. Lotus Avenue in Chicago, was established in partnership with Chicago Botanic Garden’s Windy City Harvest program. Experts in urban agriculture, Windy City Harvest staff built the farm and will maintain the site for the first three years of operations. During that time, PCC will recruit community members who are interested in participating in Windy City Harvest’s certificate program in hopes of finding a permanent, local farm coordinator. Through this endeavor, PCC will engage community members in volunteer opportunities as well as farming and nutrition workshops. Funding for the project was awarded by the Humana Foundation in 2014.
For more information about the PCC Austin Produce Market or opportunities to participate on the farm, contact Lucy Flores at 773-413-1240.