The Cream of the Crop Awards celebrate the best of Illinois farmers market marketing efforts in 2023.

Award Categories

Each award category has three awards, defined by number of vendors:

  • Less than an average of 20 vendors
  • An average of 20 to 50 vendors
  • An average of more than 50 vendors
Best Social Media Marketing:

Creative use of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and other popular social media platforms to promote an Illinois Farmers Market/Local Foods experience or product. Results should include analytics, performance against targets, dashboard data (likes, engagement, re-tweets, pins, shares, growth over a period), and paid tactics.

Best Website

Website used to promote an Illinois Farmers Market with criteria based on design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting, and ease of use.

Best Branding Initiative

Campaign, tool, or activity designed to revitalize your Illinois Farmers Market brand, establish a new brand identity, or create brand awareness.

Best Printed Collateral

Entries can include, but are not limited to, print advertising pieces, posters, brochures, etc.

Best Farmers Market Special Event or Celebration

Event or celebration designed to attract patrons to an Illinois Farmers Market and provide a positive economic impact to vendors and the community.

Nomination Guidelines

  • All nominations must be take place online through the form.
  • ILFMA members and non-members are encouraged to apply.
  • An individual or organization may only submit one nomination per category.
  • Multiple submissions for a single nominee will be reviewed and ranked as one nomination.
  • If you are submitting a nomination for multiple categories please use a new form each time.
  • ILFMA Board Members may make a nomination, however, that board member may not participate in the discussion of, or submit a vote on, the award in the category in which they made the nomination nominated.
  • All nominations must be received by the end of the day February 29, 2024.

Judging Criteria

You will be asked to supply information about your project, including details of:

  • Your Target Market/Audience
  • Your Purpose/Marketing Objectives
  • Execution – strategies you used to meet your target audience and stated objectives
  • Impact/Results – how you measured success or effectiveness with this project

The judges will be looking for innovative marketing initiatives and outstanding results and will evaluate entries based on the following criteria:


  • Does the entry form clearly and completely answer all questions?
  • Does the entry describe and meet its stated target audience and objectives?
  • Is the project’s message clear, easy to understand, and well-organized?
  • Is the project innovative, demonstrating originality and creativity?
  • Did the entry achieve strong results/return on investment?
  • Judges will also rate the overall impression and effectiveness of the entry.

Application Fee

Application fee per nomination: $20 for ILFMA Members | $40 for non-ILFMA members. Payment is due by February 29, 2024.

To process your application fee and submit an award nomination please click on the button below.