The Austin neighborhood’s newest fresh market had its grand opening on August 24! Austin Harvest is a youth-led open air fresh market that provides fresh produce to the residents of the Austin neighborhood in the far west side of Chicago. Austin Harvest grew out of a desire for youth to lead the way for positive community change. Due to decades of racial inequities highlighted by the killing of George Floyd and the COVID-19 crisis, By The Hand youth gathered in healing circles with local police and athletes to process recent violence and brainstorm solutions for their community in June of 2020. The students challenged the stakeholders to think about systematic reform but also expressed the need to do something now. This led to the idea of Austin Harvest and the transformation of a looted liquor store into a fresh market. Ten students are participating in a 12-week entrepreneurship program where they are learning everything about starting a business from architectural design to customer service. The students are receiving an educational stipend for their participation and are also learning banking, money management and budgeting skills. More than providing fresh food to a neighborhood that historically lacks access to healthy and affordable produce, the aim of Austin Harvest is to bring people together and bring hope not only to their neighborhood but to inspire other communities that they too can make change. Austin Harvest is open to the public and will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2pm – 6pm.


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