Chicago Ordinance Legalizes Fresh Produce Carts

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According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a changed ordinance that allows the city to issue an unlimited number of licenses to produce vendors selling fruits and vegetables at mobile outdoor fruit stands. Overall, the change will help target Chicago's food deserts, or areas in which residents don't have good access to fresh produce, since vendors receiving the licenses must conduct at least 50 percent of their business in these designated and underserved areas.

Here are some facts about the amended ordinance and what it will mean for Chicagoans across the city:

* CBS reported that the approved ordinance allows the produce vendor to stay in one place instead of the normal peddler's license that requires the vendor to move throughout the day.

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel also commented on the need to have carts selling fruits and vegetables in order to shrink the size of Chicago's food deserts, specifically to "make sure that every resident has an opportunity within the city of Chicago to be within a mile of fresh fruits, vegetables and meats."

* The ordinance was initially introduced by Mayor Emanuel himself and excludes freshly cut product as well as selling produce out of the back of a truck, noted NBC Chicago.

* Some of the ordinance's supporters were disappointed these two methods of selling fresh produce were excluded from the city ordinance, arguing that they still deliver fresh and healthy food options to underserved residents.

* As for locations that vendors can set up their mobile fresh produce shops, there are a total of 30 designated public areas and vendors can apply for a license to be located on private property.

* Additionally, the Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection will handle all licenses and vendors should apply through this department if they wish to receive one.

* An article from the Huffington Post added that the City Council and the mayor are also standing behind the ordinance as a way to create jobs in Chicago communities since it legalizes roadside outdoor produce carts and stands.

* On average, for each fresh produce stand an average of three jobs will be created.

* Vendors can apply for licenses right away and could receive their license as soon as the end of this week.

* Last year the city's food desert population was approximately 384,000, in which almost a third of that population is children. Chicago's food deserts are mostly on the city's West and South Sides in neighborhoods that are predominantly Africa-American.

Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. With her bachelor's degree in environmental science and biology and currently pursuing her master's in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.

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