We have moved!

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The Illinois Farmers Market Association has a new website! 

 Click here http://ilfarmersmarkets.org

Join us as we build a farmers market community in Illinois!  Click here to get to the Membership Page    http://ilfarmersmarkets.org/membership/

IFMA is dedicated to the growth and management of farmers markets throughout our state, serving the needs and interests of managers, farmers, vendors, customers and all stakeholders in local, community markets.     Its mission is to provide educational support for farmers market organizers, farmers, vendors and other community food and nutrition organizations through partnerships, resource-sharing, and training on best management practices, operating procedures, and state regulations through workshops, webinars, and various social marketing venues.

Please follow and “Like”  us on the following sites



If you want to join the conversation on our Google Group listserve, please email pstieren31@comcast.net


If you have any questions, please let us know!

Pat Stieren, Executive Director, IFMA    217-522-4274,   pstieren31@comcast.net



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Conference At-A-Glance

The conference information and registration is available at the IFMA new website  http://ilfarmersmarkets.org/

Conference Overview

Thursday,  March 7, 2013

 8:00 – 5:00 pm            Registration

9:00- 9:30 am              Welcome & Overview of Conference

9:30 -10:30 am            Darlene Wolnik , Independent Trainer and Researcher for Public Markets and FMC Markets Programs Advisor

“Fulcrums of Food Systems” The many benefits of farmers markets: adding economic, social, human and natural capital to regional communities”

10:45 – 12:00              “The Role of Local Food in Economic Recovery”                                                       Ken Meter, MA, MPA, President , Crossroads Resource Center                                                      Minneapolis, MN

12:15 – 1:30 pm          Luncheon/ Meet the Board of Directors, IFMA

1:45 – 2:45 pm            Panel – Growing Your Market:   Customers and Vendors

1:45 – 2:45 pm            Panel  – Determining Economic Viability for local production

3:00 – 4:00 pm            Panel  – How to Find the best Market Model and Sustain it

3:00 – 4:00 pm            Panel  – Community Collaborations  “Affordable Access” (SNAP EBT and WIC and Senior Coupons)

4:15 – 5:15 pm             State and National Update of Legislation and Public Policy                                                            Impacting Local Food Access and Production

5:00 – 6:30  pm           Chef  & Farmer Mixer   Sponsored by Illinois Stewardship Alliance

Facilitator: Lindsay Record, Illinois Stewardship Alliance

 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm     Reception and Recognition of first every “Farmers      Market Advocate                                       Awards”

 Friday , March 8th, 2013

8:00 am – 1:00 pm      Registration

9-10:15 am                  Panel – Collaborating with Community Partners

9-:10 15 am                 Panel – Food Safety Regulations at Farmers Markets

10:30 – 11:30am         Panel – Food Hubs

10:30 – 11:30am         Panel – Defining and Defending Producer-Only Rules For Your Market

12::00 – 1:00 pm         Closing Luncheon

 1:00 -3:00 pm              Sign up for special consultations with the ex

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Deadline to register for the Conference is Sunday,Feb 24th!!

IFMA logo mediumCheck out our new website!

The conference information and registration is available at the IFMA new website  http://ilfarmersmarkets.org/

The inaugural Illinois Farmers Market Statewide Conference will be held March 7 -8 at the State House Inn in Springfield, Illinois.  This conference is being sponsored by the Illinois Farmers Market Association through a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant, which was awarded in 2011 to the Southern Illinois University in Carbondale to establish the Association and to provide training.     The conference opens Thursday, March 7 with two very well known national speakers who will bring a national perspective to the importance of local food and farmers markets.

Ken Meter, MA, MPA, President, Crossroads Resource Center Minneapolis, Minnesota, will present a keynote entitled:  “The Role of Local Food in Economic Recovery”.  Ken is one of the most experienced food system analysts in the U.S., integrating market analysis, business development, systems thinking, and social concerns. As president of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis, Meter has 42 years of experience in inner-city and rural community capacity building. His “Finding Food in Farm Country” studies have promoted local food networks in 90 regions in 32 states and one Canadian province. http://www.crcworks.org/

Darlene Wolnik, Independent Trainer and Researcher for Public Markets and the national Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) Programs Advisor, will present a session entitled “Fulcrums of Food Systems” that covers the many benefits of farmers markets: adding economic, social, human and natural capital to regional communities.  Wolnik will talk about how markets act as a mechanism for building food systems and how economic, social, human, and natural indicators are being developed to help markets define success in their communities.    Wolnik has written extensively on the possibilities and potential for public markets to anchor community food systems and to encourage regional wealth generation. Her popular blog www.helpingpublicmarketsgrow.wordpress.com is updated regularly with links, suggestions and opinions on public market management and food system theory.  Many of her training webinars are available for viewing on the Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) YouTube site. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VM-h28wuoc&list=UUzNnzYgyhSNIR-NZH7H3tXw&index=2.

There will be over 40 speakers and exhibitors covering ten break-out sessions over the two days of the conference.  These sessions will include numerous areas of importance from beginning and managing a farmers market to collaborating with community partners in expanding market opportunities.   Day one will end with a reception for networking with other market managers, farmers, and fellow attendees.  It will also provide an opportunity to honor those individuals who have been selected as awardees of the first “Farmers Market Advocate” Award in support of farmers markets in Illinois.

As the number of farmers’ markets in the state continues to grow, with now over 350 markets, there continues to be a great demand for continued educational and advocacy programs that protect and grow farmers’ markets in Illinois.  The new Illinois Farmers Market Association and the goals of this conference will help address this need and provide a great opportunity for professional development for market vendors, staff and friends of the market. The conference information and registration is available at the IFMA new website  http://ilfarmersmarkets.org/

To receive more information, including sponsorship or exhibitor information, please contact Pat Stieren at pstieren31@comcast.net  or 217-522-4274.

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2013 Statewide Farmers Market Conference

2013 Statewide Farmers Market Conference

 “Building a Farmers Market Community

March 7 – 8, 2013

State House Inn, Springfield, Illinois

 Please join us for the first Annual Illinois Farmers Market Conference being held March 7 -8 at the State House Inn in Springfield, Illinois.  This Conference is being sponsored by the Illinois Farmers Market Association through a USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program grant which was awarded in 2011 to the Board of Trustees for Southern Illinois University to establish this Association and provide training.

This two –day Conference will have three tracks:  Beginning and Building a Farmers Market, Growing Vendors and Community Collaboration.   There are five general sessions and four breakout sessions covering seventeen topics of interest and importance for managing a farmers market and being a vendor in Illinois.   Day one will end with a Reception for networking with other market managers, farmers, and fellow attendees.  It will also provide an opportunity to meet with your local legislators and honor those individuals that have provided leadership in supporting Illinois’s farmers markets.    Day two will cover a half-day full of topics about food safety and updates about the new Cottage Food Law and the Illinois Farmers Market Task Force.

A luncheon will be provided for each day.   As an added benefit this year and to build the Association members,  the March 2013 Conference rate of $60 includes FREE Membership to the Illinois Farmers Market Association  plus FREE Membership to the Farmers Market Coalition – A great value you can’t pass up!

As the increased number of farmers markets continues to grow to now over 350 markets in 2012,  there continues to be a great demand for continued educational and advocacy programs that protect and grow Farmers Markets in Illinois.  The goals of this conference will help address this need and provide a great opportunity for professional development for market vendors, staff and friends of the market.  .

 The Conference Objectives include the following:

  • Networking and sharing successful marketing development strategies and regulatory initiatives;
  • Discovering new ideas to grow farmers and markets through expanding programs and technologies;
  • Learning about successful community collaborations;
  • Building relationships by connecting with other market staff, farmers, vendors, funders, state program representatives and legislators!

 Look for Registration and Association Membership information to be coming out within the next few weeks.   Contact Pat Stieren at pstieren31@comcast.net for more information.

Posted in Farmers Market news, IFMA Business, Market Managers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Does your farmers market accept SNAP EBT ? It’s not too late to sign up!


Illinois EBT Wireless Project is Expanding!

The Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project will expand access to fresh produce for low-income residents and boost the sale of locally grown, healthy food across the state by enabling farmers’ markets to accept Illinois Link cards, which access federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, wirelessly at minimal cost for the first time.


  • Funded by a grant of approximately $35,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Illinois Department of Agriculture with the support from the Office of the Lt. Governor.
  • Will reimburse farmers’ markets up to $1,200 for the purchase or rental of a wireless EBT machine and fees for activation and wireless service.

This program is part of a $4 million nationwide effort by the USDA to increase SNAP use at farmers’ markets. SNAP sales at Illinois farmers’ markets totaled nearly $70,000 in 2011, an increase of over 522 percent since 2009.

The number of farmers’ markets and direct-marketing farmers certified to accept SNAP has increased from 15 in 2009 to 49 in 2011. The grant will help increase the number of markets accepting Link cards, allowing more than 1 in 4 markets statewide to cater to people receiving food stamp benefits.

Farmers’ Markets Today

Twenty-nine farmers’ markets across Illinois will each receive $1,200 grants from the Illinois Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Wireless Project.

The 29 farmers’ markets that have been selected are located in different counties across Illinois and range from large operations with nearly 100 vendors and artisans to tiny ventures with less than five farmers selling produce. These markets must obtain certification to accept SNAP benefits through the USDA Food and Nutrition Service and have signed a contract with the Illinois Department of Agriculture that requires disclosure of sales data, use of the wireless machine on all market days, and participation in required trainings, before seeking reimbursement from the program.

The IL EBT Wireless Project is made possible by partnerships with…

USDA Food and Nutrition Service, The Office of the Lieutenant Governor Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Farmers Market Association, Experimental Station, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Illinois EBT Wireless Project Participants

Alsip Farmers Market, Alton Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market, Aurora’s Farmers Market East Carbondale Community Friday Night Fairs, Central Park Farmers Market, Clinton Area Farmers and Artisans Market, DeKalb Farmers’ Market Organized by Re:New DeKalb, Elmwood Park Farmers Market, F.R.E.S.H. Farmers Market, Haymarket Square Park Farmers Market, Hopkins Park / Pembroke Farmers’ Market, Independence Park Farmers Market, LA GRANGE FARMERS MARKET, Lincoln Square Thursday Evening Farmers Market, Lockport Farmer’s Market, Loyola Farmers Market, Morton Grove Farmers’ Market, Northbrook Farmers Market, Old Capitol Farmers Market, Oswego Country Market, Portage Park Farmer’s Market, Ridgeville Farmers’ Market, Shelbyville Farmers Market, Summit Park District, The Land of Goshen Community Market,The Lawndale Farmers Market, Trinity United Church of Christ Farmers Market, Uptown Farmers Market at Weiss Memorial Hospital , Youth Foundation Farm Market

Contact any of the following people to learn more about this great program and how to get started today!

  • Laura Hepp Kessel, MSW, Policy Analyst for Rural Affairs, Office of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, 217-558-3728 (Office), 217-558-3094 (Fax)  laura.kessel@illinois.gov
  • Delayne Reeves, Marketing Representative, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Marketing and Promotions, Phone:  217/524-9129, Fax:  217/524-5960, delayne.reeves@illinois.gov
  •  Pat Stieren, Executive Director, Illinois Farmers Market Association,    Phone: 217/522-4274,  pstieren31@comcast.net


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Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference (ISCAOC)

Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference (ISCAOC)

Mark Your Calendar! – January 9-11, 2013 

2013 Illinois Specialty Crops, Agritourism, and Organic Conference and Trade Show- Jan. 9-11, 2013, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and Convention Center, Springfield, Illinois.  ISGA members and all past attendees will be mailed a brochure in late November.

The full agenda with registration is posted below.  For more information or to be mailed a 2013 conference brochure, Contact:  Illinois Specialty Growers Association, 1701 Towanda Ave., Bloomington, IL 61701.  Phone 309/557-2107   FAX 309/557-3729  E-mail Cblary@ilfb.org.


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Chicago Winter Farmers Markets – how cool is that??

Check out this great article about the Chicago winter farmers markets!SONY DSC

Chicago and farmers markets: Not just a summer romance

Two of Chicago’s biggest farmers markets —Green City Market in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and the Logan Square Farmers Market — have moved indoors and will be open on most winter weekends (Green City on Saturdays and Logan Square on Sundays).

In addition, the 61st Street Market, located on the South Side adjacent to University of Chicago, will be holding indoor hours on Saturdays through Dec. 15, when it closes for the season. And an organization called Local Harvest will be holding weekly pop-up markets once a week in locations in and around Chicago.  read more here —http://tiny.cc/89a0ow

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Celebrate National Food Day, Vote with your fork!!

It’s time for a better farm bill.   Now

For the sake of our nation’s health, our farmers, and our natural resources, we need congress to do its job.   We need a better farm bill, and we need it this year! An equitable, sustainable, 21st century farm bill must:


What exactly do we mean by an equitable, sustainable, 21st century farm bill?

  • Harness the economic power of local and organic food and small businesses to strengthen rural and urban communities and create jobs
  • Grow the next generation of American farmers by providing the tools, training, and access to capital that beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers need to succeed
  • Ensure access to fresh, healthy food for all – including those in need and in our schools


  • Reward farmers for their environmental stewardship by fully funding farm conservation programs
  • Do not raid long-term conservation efforts to pay for short-term disaster fixes
  • Link federal crop insurance support to conservation of wetlands and fragile soils


  • Eliminate wasteful direct payments
  • Target support to working farm families by closing loopholes that benefit mega-farms and millionaire investors
  • Cap farm and crop insurance subsidies to improve fiscal responsibility

Click the link below and add your name to the national petition to congress now!


This petition drive is being organized by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  Please join with the Illinois Farmers Market Association and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance,  an active member of the coalition, in getting this message out!!

 Thank you for your support!


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IL Dept of Agriculture Awarded Specialty Crop Grant Funds!

Recently Awarded Illinois Specialty Crop Grant Funds will expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen state’s farm economy !!

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture has been awarded nearly $634,000 through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  The agency will split the funds between 12 projects that are intended to expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the state’s specialty crop industry.

“I’d like to thank USDA for recognizing the importance of expanding access to nutritious, locally-grown foods and providing us these funds,” Acting Director of Agriculture Bob Flider said.  “They will raise awareness about the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables that are available here and help consumers make food choices that improve not only their health, but also the health of their local economy.”  Click Here to read  the press release and learn more about the 12 selected projects.

Congratulations to all of the grantees… very excited to see all the work ahead to increase the availability of Fresh locally-grown produce in Illinois!!

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Healthy Farms, Healthy People: Supporting Local Food Systems and Improving Public Health

It’s not too late to register to attend the Healthy Farms, Healthy People Conference which is Sponsored by the Illinois Public Health Institute, Illinois Local Food, Farms & Jobs Council, and the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. 

It will take place on  Tuesday, October 23, 2012,    9AM to 4:30PM,  The Statehouse Inn, 101 East Adams Street, Springfield, IL 62701,     Registration: Space is limited.    

 Early bird cost before Oct 1 is $30 ($60 after)   (Act fast! A limited block of $89 rooms expires on 9/24/2012.)

Target Audience: health and agriculture stakeholders including, but not limited to: farmers; public health and food safety practi­tioners; food processors; food, nutrition and health entrepreneurs; interested consumers; and advocates for local food systems, farmers markets, urban farming, healthy food access, and farm to school/institution.

Session Topics will focus on the issues  related to the following:

  • Food Access and Food Justice
  • Food Safety on Farms and in Processing
  • Food Production and Supply
  • Legal and Regulatory Barriers to Food Procurement

Click here for more details and how to register 

 Healthy Farms Healthy People Conference

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