A path from the library to Milwaukee Avenue businesses
We were a small group, just three of us, but still I count the first of two discussions about Bill McKibben’s book, Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, as a success.
Why? My markers for success, as noted in Mining the library for gold,
were 1) getting people to realize just how close Milwaukee Avenue businesses are to the Logan Square Library (right) and that they can easily walk to them, and
2) generating ideas about how to improve Milwaukee Avenue and the local economy.
Merry, who lives a bit south of the part of Milwaukee Avenue that this blog is about, and who has lived in the neighborhood for months — not years — discovered two finds on Milwaukee Avenue that I know she’ll come back for: Sunrise Fresh Market for groceries and Pierre’s Bakery for sweets and treats. Having previously searched unsuccessfully, Merry was also delighted to learn of the Logan Square Farmer’s Market on Sundays off the square. (Through City of Chicago resources, Merry was unable to find information on the Logan Square Farmer’s Market because it is now independently run by the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce.) She was also delighted to learn about the handful of restaurants surrounding Logan Square proper. Merry doesn’t have a car and may take the “el” or the bus north to this part of Milwaukee
Avenue in Logan Square, but, we did walk from the library, past the square, past Sunrise Fresh Market, and up to Pierre’s Bakery (left), so she knows that she can easily walk to these stores in the future.
Based on Merry’s inability to find out about the market, we all agreed that it should be better advertised, perhaps at the area “el” stations. We have this great advantage of rapid transit stops in the neighborhood; we should be able to better capitalize on them.
We talked about the somewhat seedy appearance of Milwaukee Avenue and the conundrum of when an area’s appearance improves, rents go up, obligating current lessees to pay up or move out.
Despite perceptions and realities of present day Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, we felt ourselves fortunate to have nearby stores and transportation in the neighborhood. Lisa noted that in the current state of economic uncertainty and high gas prices, we in Logan Square are in a better position to shift our behaviors than most.
A whole chapter of Deep Economy is devoted to “The Year of Eating Locally,” and Lisa remarked that pulling weeds and washing lettuce on her CSA farm is the most useful thing she has done all year. (Look into signing up for your own share of Community Supported Agriculture.) Lisa also had a good idea adapted from the decade old experience of Chicago’s Green City Market: find a way for the Logan Square Farmer’s Market vendors to make their products available for purchase in the winter months in local Milwaukee Avenue stores.
Please join us when we delve deeper into Deep Economy on Thursday, July 31, at 7 p.m. We’ll meet up at the Logan Square Library and walk to a local business/café/restaurant to honor our own local culture and carry on the conversation.
A conversation starter: Your mission, should you choose to accept: share your experiences of how you eat local, shop local, live local.