In a surprise move, Lyle Allen, executive director of Green City Market for the past three years, announced last week that he was leaving. "I'm not sure where I'll land at this time," he said via e-mail, but he's "looking into returning to the performing arts" (Allen was previously with the League of Chicago Theatres). Under Allen the market went year-round, grew in annual attendance from 40,000 in 2008 to more than 200,000 last year, and made the annual chef's barbecue in July one of the city's most successful fund-raisers. But Allen says his highest achievement has been "ensuring Green City Market momentum continued and that I kept the dream of [late founder] Abby Mandel alive and well. She would have been thrilled by the success we experienced over the past three years."
Allen adds that plans are ongoing to require vendors to be certified by one of the seven third-party agencies GCM works with to ensure that its products are organic, naturally grown, and/or humane. GCM manager Mark Psilos says that "as of now there has not been any action taken to post the job or look for a replacement. I'm not sure when this will happen or if the position will be the same when it does." He's taken over Allen's duties in the meantime.
Tickets for Baconfest Chicago 2011 go on sale Friday at noon at baconfestchicago.com/tickets and are $65 apiece. The event, slated for Saturday, April 9, from 12:30 to 3:30 PM at the UIC Pavilion, features more than 50 chefs (including Chris Pandel, Stephanie Izard, John des Rosiers, and Heather Terhune), 20 vendors, and several liquor-company sponsors. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Baconfest is hosting a food drive at the event where donors will receive a raffle ticket. VIP tickets are already sold out.