Friday, September 27, 2019

Mayor Lightfoot Visits Garfield Ridge

By Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

It's not often at all that Mayor Lori Lightfoot visits the Southwest Side--let alone Garfield Ridge.

But she did exactly that on Thursday, September 26, helping cut the ribbon at a food processing kitchen at 5370 S. Cicero.

In any event, here is the press release that the mayor's people put out. Southwest Chicago Post video is embedded below it.

Mayoral Press Release:

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Farmer’s Fridge, World Business Chicago and members of the community for a ribbon-cutting at the company’s new 50,000 square foot facility located at 5370 S. Cicero Avenue in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood. The facility currently employs 170 individuals, many from surrounding neighborhoods, and is expected to double the number of kitchen staff by the end of 2020 to fuel the company’s rapid expansion.

“Chicago is home to incredible neighborhoods with talented and highly skilled workers who need companies to meet them where they are, and today’s opening is doing just that,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Farmer’s Fridge has changed the way people think about healthy eating by providing access to fresh, healthy food. That commitment to helping people lead healthier lives will now be strengthened with this new facility that will expand economic opportunities and create jobs for our neighborhoods and the people who live in them - particularly on the South and West Sides where Chicagoans have not seen the investment they deserve for far too long.” 

Through this new facility, Farmer’s Fridge will continue its rapid expansion and open an additional 150 Fridges by the end of 2019, while working toward national expansion as it grows its kitchen facility team and hires more local employees to support this growth into new markets

"As a Chicago transplant, I am deeply grateful to this city for its incredible support of entrepreneurship and powerful local network of talent which has helped grow Farmer's Fridge from a single location to more than 350 Fridges in just six years," said Luke Saunders, Founder & CEO. "With the opening of our new 50,000 square foot production facility, we’re thrilled to be part of the South Side community. We're excited to bring great local talent onto the Farmer’s Fridge team and look forward to doubling our kitchen headcount by the end of next year."

Established in 2013, Farmer’s Fridge is a privately-held food and technology company founded and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The company operates a network of automated smart Fridges that serves chef-curated meals and snacks in seconds, including salads, sandwiches, grain bowls and more. Each Fridge offers an affordable, seasonal menu of wholesome, handcrafted food items where it typically wouldn’t be available, including high-traffic office towers, hospitals, convenience stores, universities and airports.

“Farmer’s Fridge is a great example of the impact that Chicago’s growing innovation ecosystem is having not just in our central business district but in our neighborhoods” said Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, World Business Chicago. “It is especially exciting because this is home grown business that was incubated here, grew here and today is creating, economic opportunity for Chicago residents”

Farmer’s Fridge is uniquely tackling the three major barriers that prevent people from eating healthier: taste, convenience, and affordability through a revolutionary way to get fresh, delicious food in seconds. Currently, there are 350 Fridges located in three states filled with 25 balanced meals, snacks, and beverages. Farmer’s Fridge uses proprietary technology that tracks inventory and individual Fridge sales patterns to ensure that each location is stocked to fully optimize demand and minimize waste. The maintenance-free, low-energy Fridges have become a go-to amenity for businesses across multiple regions, having already served over two million meals to date.

In addition to serving more than two million handcrafted meals over six years in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis, Farmer’s Fridge has adopted a Zero Waste policy and has composted over one million pounds of food through Organix Recycling to reduce landfill waste. Farmer’s Fridge has also donated 255,000 pounds of food through partnerships with local food pantries.

Mayor Lightfoot remains committed to bringing jobs into Chicago, with a special focus on the South and West Sides of the city where the need is the greatest. The City of Chicago is committed to partnering with organizations like Farmer’s Fridge who fuel the growth of neighborhoods which have experienced long-term disinvestment. Yesterday, the Mayor joined the Entrepreneur of Color Fund to announce at additional $3.6 million investment to support entrepreneurs and small businesses on the South and West Sides.

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