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The Experimental Station is working to build independent cultural infrastructure on the South Side of Chicago. We do this by fostering a dynamic ecology of innovative educational and cultural programs, small business enterprises and community initiatives. Since 2006, we have both built our own programming to address a variety of identified local needs and have fostered, hosted, and sponsored numerous other initiatives.

City Development from the Bottom Up - A Conversation with Günter Westphal

Sat, Nov 22, 2014. 5:00pm

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The Experimental Station is happy to host a presentation by Günter Westphal called “City Development From The Bottom-Up” or “Art Comes First” – As Seen Through The Example Of The Hamburg (Germany) Neighborhood Münzviertel. The presentation will be followed by a discussion.

For 13 years, Günter Westphal has been artistically exploring the Hamburg, Germany, neighborhood Münzviertel. The neighborhood lies directly south of the Hamburg main train station. Its urban landscape is characterized by two large citywide social institutions; one for drug addicts and the other for the homeless. The central idea of his artwork is to contemplate the intervention power of art in public, social and political spaces.

Community Forum on University of Chicago Police

Wed, Oct 29, 2014. 7:00pm to 9:00pm

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The Invisible Institute will host a public forum on the relationship of the University of Chicago Police Department to the communities it serves. Public safety is a concern to all. The Kenwood, Hyde Park, and Woodlawn neighborhoods are policed by the UCPD as well as the Chicago Police Department.

Art on the Rural Frontier

Tue, Sep 23, 2014. 6:30pm

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Please join us here at Experimental Station for the launch of A Decade of Country Hits: art on the rural frontier.  The event is free and open to the public.

Partnering with Harmony WellCare and the City of Chicago to make healthy food more available at farmers markets

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Fresh local fruit awaits on Urban Canopy's table at Columbus Park, one of the City of Chicago farmers markets that now offers LINK card shoppers a $10 match.

The Experimental Station is pleased to partner with Harmony WellCare and the City of Chicago to provide $110,000 in Double Value Coupons at farmers markets across the city.

That means if your household is on LINK, you can visit these farmers markets and your purchasing power will be doubled, up to $10 per LINK cardholder per week, while funding lasts. Keep an eye out for LINK Bucks that look something like this:

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LINK Bucks can be spent the same day, or save them up for a bigger purchase later in the season. LINK Bucks can be spent on any LINK approved foods, and they expire at the end of 2014.

Major Taylor Chicago Victory Ride and Fundraiser

Sat, Jul 5, 2014. 7:30am to 2:00pm

VICTORY RIDE July 5 Major Taylor

Join us to ride and to bring awareness of our namesake, Marshall "Major" Taylor and raise money for Blackstone Bicycle Works. This ride will go rain or shine!

RSVP for the ride on EventBrite here.

Start Location: Blackstone Bicycle Works - 6100 S. Blackstone Ave.

Schedule: Bike check is at 7:30 am. Remarks at 7:45 am. Rollout is at 8:00 am.

Distance: There are 3 options. The longest distance is about 50 miles. There is also a 30 mile option if that is more suitable for you. For those who'd prefer a short, leisurely ride, there is a 10-15 mile route as well.

Pace: Those who are riding the 50 and 30 mile routes, we are trying to maintain at least a 12 mph average speed. The 10-15 mile route is casual paced. On all of the routes no rider will be left behind.

Supplies: This is a non-supported ride so please bring your own supplies. This includes snacks such as granola bars or sports gels, water and/or sports drinks. Also bring proper identification and money for emergencies.

This ride is a fundraiser for Blackstone Bicycle Works so please consider giving a tax-deductible donation to support our mission of empowering youth through bicycles.

Major Taylor Chicago members please wear your club kits!

Eat at Hyde Park Chipotle, Benefit 61st Street Farmers Market

Sat, May 31, 2014. 5:00pm to 9:00pm

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Make dinner a selfless act by eating at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Hyde Park on May 31st from 5pm-9pm! Just come into the Chipotle on E. 53rd Street and Harper Court on Saturday, May 31st, from 5:00pm to 9:00pm, and bring in this flyer, show it on your smartphone or simply tell the cashier you are dining to support 61st Street Farmers Market. The market will get 50% of the proceeds. Thanks for your support and happy and healthy eating! Map after the break:

Farmers Market Moves Outdoors!

Sat, May 17, 2014. 9:00am to 2:00pm

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2014 Market Season: Saturdays from 9AM-2PM, May 17th-December 13th

Can't wait to see you there!

We have a great lineup of farmers and vendors, some you know and some you don't!

Growing Power | Ellis Family Farms | Mick Klug Farms | Mike & Clare's Farm | Mint Creek Farm | Faith's Farm | Lucky Duck Farm | The Flower Garden | River Valley Ranch | The Urban Canopy | Purple Leaf Farm (NEW!) | Sunkissed Organics | Tomato Mountain Farm | Videnovich Farms | Hazzard Free Farm (NEW!) | Marigold Hill Organics (NEW!) | Stamper Cheese | Ingram's Jam and Bread | Peerless Bread & Jam | Spark of the Heart (NEW to the outdoor market!) | Yoberri Gourmet (NEW to the outdoor market!) | Crèpes by Spice! | Spice! | B'Gabs Goodies Raw/Vegan Deli | Pleasant House Bakery

The Market continues to accept LINK, and thanks to our generous sponsors and funders, we are again able to provide our $25 Double Value Coupon matching program for LINK recipients.

We sincerely thank: The Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust, Leo S. Guthman Fund, BMO Harris Bank, Harmony WellCare, the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Wholesome Wave, Greer Foundation, and University of Chicago Medicine for their generous support this year. Without this support, the 61st Street Farmers Market would simply not exist.

Having not met our budget yet for 2014, we would be deeply grateful if you would contribute to the cause! An anonymous foundation has just offered Experimental Station a $25,000 matching grant. Every penny that you donate to the Experimental Station will be doubled! To donate, please click here!

In case you are on the Facebook, we also have a 61st Street Farmers Market Facebook page that gives information about the Market and some of the work we do in the local schools teaching kids about where food comes from, how it grows, how to grow it, and how to prepare and enjoy it. Do check it out!

Thanks for everything, and see you at the Market!

Narrative Challenges of an Engaged Life

Mon, May 5, 2014. 7:00pm to 10:00pm

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We hope that you can join us for this one! As we look ahead at the vast challenges that demand our personal engagement and investment, it is invaluable to harvest the experience of those among us who have lived, and learned from, a deeply engaged life. The Experimental Station is pleased to invite you to:

Narrative Challenges of an Engaged Life - Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers in conversation with Jamie Kalven

"We will happily go wherever the conversation takes us that evening, and with participation from all who gather together, we will explore some interesting ground that lies beyond the fact that we all live storied lives: the stories we tell ourselves and the accounts that are imposed upon us by others, memory and meaning-making in the swirling vortex of history, strategies of narrative self-defense, the rule and the dangers of silence, power and the permission to narrate, stewardship of the narratives our lives become, and more."

Food stamp sales by category at 61st Street Market 2013 Season

At the Experimental Station, we work with government, the private sector and other community organizations to test and advocate for models of food access that work for vulnerable communities, make the most out of the donated dollar, support local small farmers, and sustain the regional ecology.

In the spirit of measuring and sharing our results, we're going to run a short series of year in review on our involvement the farmers market and the healthy food access scene in 2013, from a few different angles.

Today, we're sharing some data and considerations on what types of foods low-income shoppers bought at the 61st Street Farmers Market in 2013.


61st Street Farmers Market

Since founding the Market in 2008, Experimental Station has worked to increase access to and affordability of fresh and healthy food for all residents in Chicago's Woodlawn, Hyde Park and surrounding neighborhoods. All our farmers and food artisans are local (Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan) and grow, raise and produce their food following sustainable practices, with many being certified organic.

To ensure everyone in our community has access to fresh, clean food we offer the DVCP (Double Value Coupon Program) so that every LINK (food stamps in Illinois) shopper's purchase is matched up to $25 per market day. DVCP puts healthy food within reach of all budgets and invites low income shoppers to get a direct connection to where their food is coming from. Local small farms and food vendors take in more revenue from LINK purchases when there is a DVCP match.

look at how much more food through LINK Up Illinois double value match
On the left, a $25 dollar basket at the 61st Street Farmers Market. On the right, that same basket plus $25 more worth of food from the Double Value Coupons.


What Types of Foods

In 2013 our 61st Street Farmers Market cleared record amounts of LINK sales ($20,447.50) and DVCP as well ($18,692.00), #1 in the state of Illinois.

One way we can look to measure our impact is to ask: what kinds of foods did people spend their LINK money on when they shopped at the market? So we sliced the LINK sales data into food categories to get a sense of this:

Concealed Carry Opening

Thu, Jan 9, 2014. 5:00pm to 8:00pm

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We are excited to be presenting a two-week installation of works by artists and art collectives, all addressing the impact of the new Firearm Concealed Carry legislation in Illinois, which will go into effect on January 1.