ILFMA Blog

Membership drive banner

At Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA), our goal is to help farmers markets across Illinois to thrive; to reach more customers, to increase the dollars going into farmers’ pockets, to get more healthy food into our communities and to give farmers market managers and vendors the tools they need to be effective.

ILFMA supports farmers markets through conferences and workshops, webinars and networking, resource guides and one-on-one advising. ILFMA invites you to join us in growing healthier and more economically vibrant communities. From now until March 15, ILFMA is hosting a membership drive. New members will earn a $55 discount on the upcoming ILFMA conference on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 in Elgin.

Why join ILFMA? Hear from Janelle Silva, Illinois Farmers MarJanelleket Association member and, the farmers market manager at the Skokie Farmers Market. Janelle is entering her fourth year as a market manager and the market has been a member of ILFMA since she joined the market. The Skokie Farmers Market was established over 40 years ago and serves a diverse community. Over 80 languages are spoken in the village of Skokie! Residents are able to find an array of food from the 25-30 vendors at this producer-only market from June through November.

Here is what Janelle had to say about her experience with ILFMA:

How have you and the Skokie Farmers Market benefited by being a part of ILFMA?

“I’ve eagerly attended the conference the last three years. Last year, I brought the Village Consumer Affairs Commission Chair with me. While we attended the same sessions, we had different takeaways. We were able to combine them to implement new programming for our market. We were inspired by the conference to start a new incentive program for customers which utilized a punch card enabling market customers to receive a free gift after attending the market 10 times and visiting different vendors. This helped to feature vendors, especially those who aren’t in a high traffic areas, and got them more foot traffic.”

Why are you a member of ILFMA?

“One of the reasons I enjoy and utilize my ILFMA membership is to learn about the regulations for farmers markets. There are times when there have been changes to state or federal policies and I needed clarification in interpreting this information. I always feel comfortable contacting staff or board members of ILFMA and I always get good information that clears up any confusion about the rules that markets needs to follow.”

About the Market Manager Certification program:

“I wouldn’t have known that the certification program was in existence without ILFMA. The certification program instilled good practices for an established market and polished other elements so we were more cohesive. I was market manager for 2 years when I received certification so I would still say I was fairly new. I took away a lot of information and it was a wonderful resource. I was able to access a networking community of other market managers that are at different places in their market managing career and we were able to bounce ideas off of each other which was very helpful. I was inspired by others and adopted programming ideas that were affordable and fun such as environmental policies and kid-friendly activities.”

About the ILFMA webinars:

“We were apprehensive about the idea of initiating the SNAP program and so I participated in several webinars from ILFMA on the topic. The webinars were really informative and provided tangible information. I was pretty uninformed on the how process worked but because of the webinars, I was able to create a plan with a timeline and a budget to implement the program. We also applied for a grant which we received. By receiving the hands-on information through the webinars, I was able to absorb it in a different way so I’m excited that we are implementing a SNAP program at our market in 2018.”

Meet Market Manager, Janelle Silva of the Skokie Farmers Market and get the inside scoop on the market in this brief video.

Become a member of Illinois Farmers Market Association too! Join us now to learn, grow and connect with farmers markets across the state. A variety of membership options are available. Join today!

Check out the recipe for Good Ole Minestrone, in Natural Awakenings Chicago, written by ILFMA Executive Director, Janie Maxwell Good Ole Minestrone Hits the Spot for Comfort Food “One of the first recipes I made for a crowd was minestrone soup from the More with Less Cookbook,” says Janie Maxwell. “I still look at recipes…

My Market Campaign

August 7, 2017
Support National Farmers Market Week in Illinois “This Is My Market” campaign! National Farmers Market Week is August 6-12.  Take part by creating a brief video showcasing your favorite local market or vendor and post it to the ILFMA Facebook page (ILFMA Facebook page) or Twitter (tag @ILFarmersMkts) Tips: • Make a selfie video and…
By Maggie Nykaza, ILFMA Grant Specialist and Social Media Guru Is there anything better than tasting the first fruits of the season? Food lovers, rejoice! Summer is here and that means the growing season is in full swing in Illinois. Farmers markets are once again popping up all across the land! If you’re thinking of…
Plan your market shopping list and seasonal recipes, thanks to Univ. of IL Ext. Educators who share their crop updates from all over Illinois! January 19, 2018 From west central Illinois... As I left the Illinois Specialty Crops Conference in Springfield last week, my car thermometer read 61 degrees Fahrenheit. When I arrived in Macomb,…
Increase Sales! Idea Sharing and Networking! Collaborate together to meet challenges and seize opportunities! Be inspired! Boost your SNAP/Link sales! Expansive Winter Farmers Market! 26 Vendors! Prepare for a great 2017 Season! We hope to see you there!  

SNAP Program

January 12, 2017
2016 was the most successful season for Urbana’s Market at the Square’s SNAP program. Over $21,500 in SNAP and SNAP double value incentives were distributed during the 27-week season. Thanks to Farm Credit Illinois and LINK Up Illinois, Urbana’s Market at the Square was able to boost their outreach strategies in order to bolster a…

Urbana Top 10

January 12, 2017
Urbana’s Market at the Square takes place outdoors from May through November, rain or shine in Urbana, Illinois. The Market has a very loyal customer base, even when it’s raining. So that got the Market Staff thinking, "What makes the Market so appealing? What is it that makes people come out rain or shine?" So…