Chicago, IL


The Austin neighborhood’s newest fresh market had its grand opening on August 24, 2020. Present Future Architects provided pro-bono services to transform this site from a liquor store to an urban fresh market in 3 weeks. By using cross laminated timber matts as the floor and a modified shipping container, the design vision was achieved in only a few weeks. A second phase is currently in the works to enclose a portion of the site for a year around market.

Austin Harvest is a youth-led open air fresh-market that provides fresh produce to the residents of the Austin neighborhood in the far west side of Chicago. Austin Harvest grew out of a desire for youth to lead the way for positive community change. Due to decades of racial inequities highlighted by the killing of George Floyd and the COVID-19 crisis, By The Hand youth gathered in healing circles with local police and athletes to process recent violence and brainstorm solutions for their community in June of 2020. The students challenged the stakeholders to think about systematic reform but also expressed the need to do something now. This led to the idea of Austin Harvest and the transformation of a looted liquor store into a fresh market. More than providing fresh food to a neighborhood that historically lacks access to healthy and affordable produce, the aim of Austin Harvest is to bring people together and bring hope not only to their neighborhood but to inspire other communities that they too can make change.