Local Food Social Enterprise and Community Development

The Common Market

About the organization

The Common Market is a nonprofit, multi-regional distributor (PA, NY, NJ, MD, DC, VA, AL, GA, TX) that connects communities with good food from sustainable family farms. Our model builds an interdependent distribution network that links small and mid-scale producers who strive to produce safe, nutritious products, directly with institutions and communities that seek to implement food access and procurement practices that are socially responsible and environmentally sound. We envision a nation composed of vibrant regional food systems – where interdependent urban and rural communities thrive through relationships that build the health and wealth of all people.

CM seeks to explore replication of our successful model in Chicago, IL, and is conducting an extensive search for our first employee in this region.

This position will work with the leadership of The Common Market and local partners to plan and design the optimal strategy for launching a local chapter in Chicago.


-Building deep relationships with community leaders and organizations to understand the needs of local people and support CM as a trusted partner in collaborating to solve collective community food system challenges.
-Participation in regional food-oriented coalitions aligned with CM values of Community, Economy, Ecology, Equity, and Transparency.
-Bring together stakeholders (for example- community leaders, cafeteria managers, sustainability coordinators, and others) to discuss local food and institutional food service.
-Research and reconcile CM's model and past launch strategies with local community conditions, regional production capacities, competitive landscape, and resource opportunities.
-Provide competitive analysis of social and traditional food enterprise landscapes as a component of planning and recommendations.
-Through research, networking, conferences, and outreach, identify and engage an initial set of local producers in the “Lakes” region who use sustainable, equitable, and humane growing practices and can help us build a reliable, safe, affordable, and healthy product availability list.
-Perform a “supply chain coordinating” role, connecting producers with organizations and institutions that seek to expand access to partnering communities where appropriate.
-Work to create opportunities for community partners to sample and access local foods through partnerships.
Complete planning document recommending regional engagement strategies


We are looking for an individual who is highly motivated, results-driven, passionate about community and sustainable food, in addition to having the professionalism and experience to succeed in a demanding role that is critical to the success of the organization.

While this position will require regional and periodic national travel, the majority of time and focus will be in communities of South and West Chicago.

This position is a collaborative one between The Common Market and Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) and will be based out of the offices of CFPAC when Covid-19 safety protocols allow. Under the employ of The Common Market, the Specialist will work collaboratively with CFPAC staff to:

-Lay the foundation for racially and socially equitable regional food supply relationships that can meet increasing institutional demand for good food;

-Create pathways for food producers and food businesses owned by people of color to scale operations for wholesale and other markets;

-Conduct repeated ideation, prototyping, assessment of what works, and scaling of experiments to uncover new and better solutions; and

-Respect, honor, and support the existing community initiatives working toward just food systems in the Chicagoland region.



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