Organization History and mission Through public and private partnerships Sustain encourages sustainable economic development that creates jobs and revitalizes communities in an environmentally sound manner. Sustain was created in 1996 after its founders led a multi-media communications campaign to inform the public that the Northwest Incinerator in Chicago was emitting 150,000 pounds of lead into the air each year. Ultimately, the incinerator was shut down, and funding was secured to launch Sustain. Over the past eight years Sustain has contributed to many national and regional environmental victories by using strong images, compelling messages and creative campaigns. Since 2000 Sustain has led efforts to build a regional food system in the Midwest. Its Local Organic Initiative and programs build markets for regional farmers and food processors.

Current Programs is a program of Sustain that encourages organic farming and new marketing and business opportunities by connecting local farmers with buyers. It helps to build a food system that supports local organic farmers by offering them a roadmap of selling opportunities throughout the Chicago region. Through The New Farmer Development Project, Sustain is currently exploring new ways to link Chicago immigrants with new jobs in farming and other opportunities of the local organic marketplace. Involvement in Public Policy- is constant at Sustain where we continuously work with policy makers to implement recommendations for a local organic food system. The 2006 Organic Harvest report provides updated information for this effort. Also Sustain contributes to the Chicago Food Policy Advisory Council, which works to improve access to quality food for all people in the City of Chicago. Sustain is also working with VOA Planning and Projects for Public Spaces to lead the effort to conceptualize a Public Market for the proposed Riverwalk site in downtown Chicago.