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Rahm Lures West Siders to Farmers Markets With $5 'City Bucks'

By Ted Cox | September 27, 2013 10:30am | Updated on September 27, 2013 1:20pm
 The city is trying to draw residents to West Side farmers' markets by distributing $5 "City Bucks" coupons.
The city is trying to draw residents to West Side farmers' markets by distributing $5 "City Bucks" coupons.
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DNAInfo/Victoria Johnson

CITY HALL — The city is promoting West Side farmers' markets with a new "City Bucks" program distributing $5 food coupons at five weekly neighborhood sales.

The program kicks off with "City Bucks" distribution at the West Humboldt Park farmers market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at 3601 W. Chicago Ave. Anyone can use them and no purchase is required.

It will continue with $5 coupons being given out at the Columbus Park farmers' market at Harrison Street and Central Avenue from 2 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

The coupons will be worth $5 and can be used in pairs for $10 per visit at any of five weekly West Side farmers' markets. In addition to West Humboldt Park and Columbus Park, the markets include:

• LaFollette Park, 1333 N. Laramie Ave., from 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays

• Austin Town Hall Park, Lake Street and Central Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Thursdays

• Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays

The farmers markets are scheduled to run through the end of October, and all five already accept the Link card for federal food stamp benefits.

The "City Bucks" program is being administered by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in partnership with Experimental Station, following Mayor Rahm Emanuel's stated position to target food deserts.

According to the Mayor's press office, "Access to healthy food through farmers markets is a key part of Mayor Emanuel's plan to combat food deserts, and the new City Bucks program will help residents eat healthy in an affordable fashion."

DCASE spokeswoman Cindy Gatziolis said the department has ordered an initial run of 3,000 "City Bucks," and could do 3,000 more for a total expenditure of $6,000, to be paid from the Chicago Farmers Markets budget.