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About Us

Who We Are

We are a wonderfully and widely diverse group of people united by a longing for a community-owned grocery store where we can make consumer choices that reflect our values. We want a store where you feel connected when you walk in the door. This is your store.

From Humble Beginnings

Wild Onion Market began in the living room of Founder Mary Meyer in 2012 as the Rogers Park Food Co-op with 25 members. This small group mobilized the support of other community members who share their passion for food justice, which includes bringing healthy, affordable food to the community and supporting local food supply chains. They established a strong volunteer base, registered as a formally recognized cooperative in the state of Illinois, and launched a membership campaign. Now we are 500+ strong and ready to realize this vision!

What’s a Co-op?

WE AREN’T JUST COMMITTED TO OUR COMMUNITY — WE’RE OWNED BY IT.

A cooperative (co-op) is a values-driven business, which makes it different from other grocery stores. We are community-owned, which allows us to send our profits directly back to our members, our store, and to the community we serve. Because of this, we can remain committed to a triple bottom line: the economic, social and environmental responsibilities that shape our co-op from the ground up.

About the Name

The name pays homage to the indigenous Illinois and Miami Indian tribes, whose word “shikaakwa” translated to “smelly onion”. Many historians believe this word was the origin for the name Chicago because of the abundance of wild onions that grew in the area. These native plants that have lived here for thousands of years remind us of common connection to this land that provides sustenance.

It is also a constant reminder that we strive to be different, to be part of a fundamentally better food system . . . and to have fun while we do it!

Meet our Board

Our board of directors is a devoted group comprised of nine elected
volunteers who serve for three-year terms.
President

Jillian Jason

Jillian@wildonionmarket.com

Jillian’s mission is to give individuals and communities a voice in their food supply chain. She believes this is only possible when producers, growers, distributors, and retailers practice transparency. Jillian’s goal is for the co-op to be a welcoming place where the community can come together to embrace quality food. She hopes the store will work to instill a sense of trust between valued producers and conscious consumers.

Vice President

Mary Meyer

Mary@wildonionmarket.com

Mary is the Coop’s Founder. She brings a wealth of experience centered in community organizing in the Financial and International Fair Trade sectors. Her passion for the Co-op is unmatched as she turns out for every co-op event, and will happily meet any interested party for coffee to discuss the co-op at length. This passion is also expressed through her leadership on the Board and with the Community Engagement Team.

Treasurer

David Mark

David@wildonionmarket.com

We are so fortunate to have David as our Board Treasurer. He is incredibly conscientious, meticulous and also lovely to work with. David has developed his management skills in customer focused companies including United Artists, Hollywood Video and the Disney Company. He is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago where he pursued a degree in business with an emphasis in Finance and Accounting.

Secretary

Ricky Burton-Romero

Ricky@wildonionmarket.com

Ricky currently works in the human resources field for a consulting firm located in downtown Chicago. Besides playing a human resources hero during the day, Ricky also enjoys making handmade greeting cards in his free time. He also volunteers for the Live Like Roo (LLR) Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that assists families with dogs that have been diagnosed with cancer. Ricky has worked with the co-op to help beef up the online presence in social media.

Board Member

Michelle Parker-Katz

Michelle@wildonionmarket.com

Michelle joined the Rogers Park Food Co-op with a keen interest in building and sustaining spaces for inclusive, inviting and collaborative activities amongst diverse communities. Access to quality healthy food is a right for all people, and our food co-op could be a space for exploring ways to bring that right into being. Community choices and engagement are paramount in her mind given that the co-op is “ours”. Michelle is also active in the Community Engagement group and writes and edits the co-op newsletter.

Board Member

Kristin Alexander

Kristin@wildonionmarket.com

Kristin is passionate about healthy eating and bringing quality, ethically grown food to our community. She believes strongly that being part of a community provides a sense of belonging and social connectedness, which then leads to improved mental health and well-being. In her professional life, Kristin works as a social worker at Heartland Health Center in Rogers Park, which serves predominantly low-income people from various ethnic backgrounds.

Board Member

Lisa Gibbons

Lisa@wildonionmarket.com

Lisa is committed to putting her effort and experience to ensure access to healthy food for all, which requires disrupting the broken food system in the United State and creating an alternative business model for healthy food production and distribution. She also finds the challenge of the early stage venture of Wild Onion Market to be exciting and energizing. She has over 25 years of experience in instructional design, user experience, and working in start-up education ventures and higher education. As a single mom who raised three boys mostly on her own (she got married a year ago), she regrettably had to sacrifice purchasing organic produce because of the cost. This frustrating experience has fueled her dedication to working towards making sure everyone in our community can afford to buy healthy food for their families. Lisa is an Openlands’ TreeKeeper, avid early morning lakefront exerciser, and enjoys cooking as a creative outlet.

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