Resources for Local Healthy Food



Sugar Beet Co-op

Started by a group of food-loving neighbors, The Sugar Beet Cooperative is a community managed store and gathering place in Oak Park. The Sugar Beet Food Co-op opened to the general public in 2015, and is open everyday from 7am – 9pm, selling food directly from local farms and producers. Grab your market bags and come see what the excitement is all about!

The Co-op is your one stop shop for high quality groceries and more, including:

  • Fresh local and organic produce
  • A HUGE bulk section
  • High quality dairy, eggs and meat
  • Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free
  • Frozen goods
  • Wine, beer and cider
  • A beautiful wellness department
  • Fresh, local breads and rolls
  • Local cheeses and salamis
  • Good food to go – sandwiches, salads, soups, wraps and dips
  • Café with coffee drinks, smoothies, juices and pastries to go

The Sugar Beet is dedicated to educating citizens about the importance of supporting farmers and the local economy. It also includes a commercial kitchen where our community can take classes on cooking and preserving, so that folks are able to eat locally year-round here in the Midwest.

The Sugar Beet Co-op is at 812 W. Madison, in Oak Park, Illinois. They can be reached at 708-948-7656.  For more information check out:


The Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen

If you choose 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day from EWG’s Clean 15 rather than the Dirty Dozen, you can lower the volume of pesticide you consume daily by 92 percent, according to EWG calculations. You’ll also eat fewer types of pesticides. Picking 5 servings of fruits and vegetables from the 12 most contaminated would cause you to consume an average of 14 different pesticides a day. If you choose 5 servings from the 15 least contaminated fruits and vegetables, you’ll consume fewer than 2 pesticides per day. If you are like me and can’t keep straight what is on which list, here’s a handy guide you can download PDF of the Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen and keep it handy!

 Dirty Dozen -Buy these organic  Clean 15 -Lowest in Pesticides
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines – imported
  7. Grapes – imported
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries – domestic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens



  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe – domestic
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Note:  Eat your fruits and vegetables! The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides to reduce your exposures as much as possible, but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. The Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.


Area Farmers Markets

The Oak Park Farmers’ Market had a successful 40th season ending on 10/31/2015. The opening date for the 2016 Oak Park Farmers’ Market has not yet been set. The Oak Park Farmers’ Market is located at 460 Lake Street, one block west of Ridgeland Avenue. We will share the 2016 opening date as soon as it becomes available. For more information please go to

Interested in serving on the Farmers’ Market Commission? Apply online or download a volunteer application.


Join us for a Winter Farmers Market at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Oak Park!

Each winter, from November through March, Faith in Place partners with faith communities to host a series of indoor Winter Farmers Markets on Saturdays and Sundays.

The markets provide an additional source of income for local vendors during the off-season, promote sustainable farming methods and economic justice for regional farm families, encourage healthy, wholesome eating, and support the building of relationships between producers and consumers.

Enjoy a wide range of seasonal, sustainably-produced goods and support your local farmers and vendors at this market. Available items may include winter produce, honey, meat, eggs, baked goods, tea, salsas, sauces, spreads, preserves, yarns, beauty products and more.

The Winter Farmers’ Market will take place on January 9th, 2016, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 611 Randolph Street, Oak Park, Illinois.

For more information please go to:


Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Membership in a CSA is the practice of paying for a seasonal share of a local farm’s harvest. Participating members receive a weekly box of assorted fruits and/or vegetables – whatever is fresh from the farm that week.  For more information and a list of local farms that offer this service:


Organic & Local Food Delivery

Irv & Shelly’s Fresh Picks: offers year-round home delivery in the Chicago area of local and organic produce, meat, dairy and eggs. You can order online anytime to choose the specific items you want, or opt for a Fresh Picks Box that is automatically delivered to your door weekly or bi-weekly.   For more information:


Web Resources for Sustainable Eating

  • Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract the rise of fast life and combat people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us.
  • online source of sustainably raised meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy; enter your zip code to find healthful, humane and eco-friendly products from farms, stores, restaurants in your area
  • The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is on the campus of Iowa State. The Center explores and cultivates alternatives that secure healthier people and landscapes, with a focus on sustainable farming.
  • has multiple useful resources, including but not limited to a shoppers guide to pesticides in their food supply, water filtration system guides, and a consumer guide to seafood




Area Community Gardens

Root-Riot Madison 838 W. Madison. Oak Park, IL

Located almost on the northwest corner of Madison and Grove in Oak Park, this site will have approximately 47 4′ x 8′ plots, and 3 4×4 beds for children, available for one growing season rental. As this lot is being loaned to us for the year, we can’t guarantee the lot for more than a year, but we can hope that we will have it for multiple growing seasons.

Root-Riot:  Harambee! – 500 N. Waller. Chicago, IL

Located at the corner or Race and Waller in Chicago, this lot is ajoined by The Chicago Fire Department, St. Martins Episcopal Church, St. John Church and Fredrick Douglas Academy.This lot has been leased for 3 years. For more information about Root Riot Community Gardens


Best Spring Planting Dates

2013 Best Spring Planting Dates for Seeds in Oak Park, IL: See this useful seed planting guide specifically tailored to this area (zip code 60302) from the Farmers Almanac. This chart includes the most popular crops. For more information, consult your cooperative extension. Click on the underlined crops below for free “how to” plant and grow guides!



Web Resources for Backyard Urban Gardening

  • – The Squash Blossoms organized in 2009 after a six-session course exploring the connection between food and sustainability. We talked about  the dream of raising our own vegetables and thereby having some control over what happens to the food we put in our mouths. Six of us decided to make it happen and soon found available land behind a friend’s cafe. Our structure is looser than most community gardens. We share our plot of land instead of staking out separate beds. And together we agree on what to plant and how to design the garden.
  • (click on resources section)
  • resource for heirloom garden seeds
  • Pesticide Action Network promotes the elimination of dangerous pesticides and offers solutions that protect people and the environment

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