New Go Green Community Fresh Market in Englewood hailed as ‘milestone’ after years of work

ENGLEWOOD — With the cutting of a yellow ribbon, a market opened to neighbors on Tuesday morning, promising fresh food and healthy produce to shoppers in Englewood.

The Go Green Community Fresh Market, a nearly $5 million grocery store, is open. Neighbors can visit the store daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1207 W. 63rd St.

Dozens of neighbors joined local leaders and city officials to celebrate the official opening of the two-story market. The Go Green Community Fresh Market is a milestone for the community, said Sana Syed, senior director of strategic initiatives at the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, one of the community partners behind the market.

“The Go Green Community Fresh Market is not just a grocery store committed to providing nutrient-dense foods at an accessible and affordable price,” Syed said. “It’s a cultural center. It is an oasis. It is a platform for local food entrepreneurs. This will cause health results. This will stimulate the improvement and growth of the business.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.

The fresh market is one of the many projects envisaged within the framework of Go Green on Root, a multi-million dollar initiative to transform the 63rd Street Corridor into a premier destination. The city council approved plans to turn a nearby lot into a parking lot and green space for the market in July.

Comprised of a group of community leaders, the Go Green On Racine team – the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Teamwork Englewood, Resident Association of Greater Englewood and EG Woode – hopes to bring vibrant businesses, housing, amenities and a reliable access to public transportation in the community.

Cecile DeMello, executive director of Teamwork Englewood, said the opening of the market is the start of “multiple developments” that will soon head into the corridor.

“Hundreds of families come here and take their kids to play in the park, pull out a book from the library and have fun,” DeMello said. “But now they can shop on 63rd and Racine.”

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot hugs Asiaha Butler during the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Go Green Community Fresh Market in Englewood on March 8, 2022.

While organizers marked the day as a day of celebration, they also criticized what dozens had to gather to celebrate. Access to food is a basic, basic need, and people in Englewood should have always had healthy food options, Syed said.

“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that this is an important step,” Syed said. “It has taken a long time to get here, but there is still a long way to go. … It took power to break our communities and neighborhoods apart, and it will take power to rebuild them.

“I don’t want us to forget tomorrow what we achieved today, but I also don’t want us to lose the fire we feel today, tomorrow.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the market is “an important milestone on a longer journey that we must continue to fight for.”

“While I’m delighted to be here, when we should continue to celebrate, I think it’s important for us to reflect on what we are celebrating,” Lightfoot said. “How much blood, sweat and tears it took to get to this moment, and what we can do to commit so it doesn’t happen again.”

Lightfoot said she is committed to eradicating food deserts on the south and west sides to ensure communities have access to “basics” like healthy food. She will also work with the Go Green On Racine team to reopen a closed school as a place of regeneration in the community, she said.

“We need to make sure that we build more to stabilize this community and support aspirations for the things we all want: a good life, a peaceful life, being able to create wealth and pass it on to our children, having beautiful affordable homes [and] access to healthcare,” Lightfoot said.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.

With shelves stocked with breakfast cereals, seasonings, loaves of bread and produce, the Go Green Community Fresh Market is ready to serve all the neighbors. Food from local entrepreneurs is packaged and available for purchase.

Englewood resident Imani Muhammad has her bean pies on the shelves. She said it was just the start of a “beautiful thing”.

“This place is for the kids in the community to see that anything is possible,” Muhammad said. “You can be an entrepreneur or open a business. And now they can walk down the street to see it.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Customers shop at the Go Green Community Fresh Market during its grand opening in Englewood on March 8, 2022.

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James C. Tibbs