Covid-19 and Farmers Markets

How does the farmers market community respond to COVID-19? 

What will 2021 farmers markets look like?

3-29-2021; 2-3 pm, Farmers Markets for the 2021 Season (recording available)
Join Janie Maxwell, Executive Director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association to discuss the 2021 ILFMA Farmers Market COVID-19 guidelines. What are the new Restore Illinois requirements and how will farmers markets look in 2021? Webinar is being offered through a joint partnership between the Illinois Farmers Market Association and University of Illinois Extension. 

4-8-2021; 12-1 pm, Adding Link/SNAP Acceptance at your Farmers Market in 2021 (recording available)

Dennis Ryan, Senior Link Up Illinois Manager, will discuss the importance of the Illinois Link program and how it can be incorporated into your farmers market.  Why is this important now?  Adding Link, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), will help provide access to healthy food for your community and increase sales for farmers market vendors selling Link eligible products.

With COVID-19 more community residents are eligible for Link and need access to healthy food. Link Match doubles the value of Link purchases at farmers markets by providing matching currency redeemable at the market for fresh local fruits and vegetables. Funding is now available for the Link Match program.

This webinar will also discuss resources available to help markets begin Link and Link Match programs.


2020 COVID-19 Resources/Webinars/Posts

Partnership with PayPal for Touchless Payments

pp h rgb 003

Having the ability to offer your customers a way to pay touch-free is important, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with @PayPal on accepting payment with QR codes.

PayPal QR Code is a safe and easy touch-free payment option that allows you and your customers to make fast and seamless transactions with your smartphone through the PayPal app. An added bonus: PayPal is waiving seller transaction fees on QR code transactions until 2021. 

How does it work? Accept Touch-Free Payments with QR Code

It's easy, download the PayPal app and get started.

Learn how to create your PayPal QR Code in minutes. Other fees may apply. Not applicable to PayPal Here QR code transactions. #PayPalPartner

Apply for ILFMA Mini-Grant and Technical Assistance

The Illinois Farmers Market Association, ILFMA, is pleased to announce it is the recipient of the Compeer Financial Fund for Rural America grant. “Farmers markets have had to reinvent themselves to ensure they open, and implement new operating procedures to respond to COVID-19,” said Janie Maxwell, Executive Director of ILFMA.
ILFMA has been providing guidance for market operations for each phase of the Restore Illinois plan. Now, in partnership with Compeer Financial, ILFMA will provide Mini-Grants to offset COVID-19 operating costs and technical assistance to help get markets open safely and marketing strategies to gain customer confidence and sales.


Join the Illinois Farmers Market Association for new COVID-19 webinars;

9-28-2020; 10-11 am, ILFMA Winter Farmers Market Guidance for COVID-19 (recording available)
The winter farmers market season is just around the corner. Are you planning on a winter market, or wondering what it would take to run a winter farmers market during COVID-19? Join the Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA) for a discussion on guidance for hosting winter farmers markets on September 28, 2020 at 10:00am. ILFMA will also present a few possible market models. 

7-24-2020; 12-1 pm, Celebrate National Farmers Market Week, August 2-8, 2020, (recording available)COVID-19 has required a lot from farmers market managers, farmers and vendors, and there is much to highlight and celebrate during National Farmers Market Week. Please join us for this free webinar. The webinar is presented in cooperation between the Illinois Farmers Market Association and University of Illinois Extension. 

7-1-2020; 12-1 pm, Managing Farmers Markets During COVID-19 – PHASE 4 (recording available).  This webinar will discuss the updated ILFMA Farmers Market COVID-19 Toolkit and guidelines for Illinois markets. Please join us as we discuss the Phase 4 changes and what it means to your farmers market. 

6-17-2020, 10-11 am; Managing Farmers Markets During COVID-19-Phase 3 (recording available).

This webinar will discuss the updated ILFMA Farmers Market COVID-19 Toolkit and guidelines for Illinois markets-Phase 3.  Please join us as we discuss these changes and what it means to your farmers market. 

5-15-2020 Re-Envisioning Farmers Markets for the 2020 Season (recording available).
Join Janie Maxwell, Executive Director of the Illinois Farmers Market Association to discuss the re-envisioned farmers market using the ILFMA Farmers Market COVID-19 guidelines for market managers, vendors and customers. There will be an open forum at the end of the presentation to for questions. 

5-13-2020 Market Manager Insights - Setting Up Your Farmers Market during COVID-19 (recording available)Join farmers market managers Kayla Graven from the Springfield Farmers Market, and Myra Gorman from the Evanston Farmers Market, as they discuss the details of opening their markets. There will be an open forum at the end of the presentation to for questions. 

Hear from Jim, a regular shopper at the Urbana Market at the Square on why shopping at farmers markets matters now more than ever.  Watch video.

Marketing webinar

5-6-2020 10 tips for Marketing your farmers market during COVID-19 (recording available). Market managers are presented with the difficult task of marketing their market’s upcoming opening while also making sure they’re communicating to vendors, staff volunteers, and shoppers a myriad of new rules for operating a market during COVID-19. So, how do market managers make it all happen...and still sound hopeful and excited for the upcoming season? In this webinar, ILFMA will cover 10 tips for marketing your farmers market that you can incorporate into your PR and communications efforts right now.

4-24-2020 Farmers Markets During COVID-19 Downtown Bloomington Farmers Market (recording available). Catherine Dunlap from the Downtonw Bloomington Curbside farmers market, shares the curbside model, using the farmers market as the online store for orders.   This webinar a joint venture between with the Illinois Farmers Market Association and University of Illinois Extension.  Volunteer waiver form can be found on the ILFMA COVID-19 Toolkit page.  

4-22-2020 Farmers Markets During COVID-19 (recording available) A look at drive-thru, curbside and online models for farmers markets. Our presenters will be Jane Maxwell, Executive Director for the Illinois Farmers Market Association, Ann Stahlheber-Carbondale Farmers Market, Beth Walker-Downtown Batavia Farmers Market, and Stef Funk-Plant Chicago. This webinar is a joint venture between University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Farmers Market Association.

4-10-2020 Get Your Virtual Farm Stand Up and Running (recording available) with The Land Connection; setting up your e-commerce platform in MarketMaker. 

4-6-2020  ILFMA Webinar; RE-ENVISIONING FARMERS MARKETS FOR THE 2020 SEASON AND DISCUSSION ON THE 'IN AND OUT' FARMERS MARKET (not recorded).  Information can be found in the ILFMA COVID-19 Toolkit

Here are the results of the ILFMA survey of farmers market vendors done in partnership with the Illinois Specialty Growers Association.  Seventy-nine vendors shared their data. Complete survey results at bottom of page. 

Revenu survey post 3 002


3-26-2020 We just received this information from the Illinois Department of Agriculture,

"Farmers’ markets are deemed essential in the EO. They do not have to be “certified.” The social distancing requirement must be demonstrably conveyed to all farmers’ market participants."

3-25-2020 ILFMA and our partners are working to determine what "certified" farmers market means moving forward.  Stay tuned.  

We need your help!

Now more than ever, we need to know the economic impact of farmers markets across Illinois. Farmers Market vendors, please take the following survey to be counted! It is anonymous and only 4 questions. Complete the survey once, compiling all sales at all farmers markets for a one time entry.

Update;  E-Commerce Stores for MarketMaker profile users

The e-commerce platform with LocalLine through a MarketMaker profile was beginning to roll out as producers and farmers markets were looking for quick, alternative methods for selling products direct to the consumer.  As with any roll out there is a learning curve and lessons learned. 

There are two options for farmers markets.  A free e-commerce store offered through MarketMaker and the subscription service offered directly from LocalLine. 

How does the free e-commerce store work for farmers markets?  Farmers markets and vendors can create a free, only paying a 5% transaction fee, e-commerce store with MarketMaker.  Set up is simple and we will be publishing tutorials to assist you. 

A farmers market can tag its vendors and likewise a vendor can tag the farmers markets where product is sold.  However, each a customer will have a login for each individual vendor under the free platform.  The farmers market is designated as the pick up point for product, prepayment is collected and then product is delivered through the farmers market.

A farmers market that is an umbrella, with one login for all vendors selling at the market, is a subscription based service with LocalLine.  The farmers market and each vendor must pay the subscription fee for each farmers market they are a part of offering this service.


Under the Govenor's Executive Order, farmers markets are considered essential. 

These are considered essential:
Stores that sell groceries and medicine. Grocery stores, pharmacies, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products). This includes stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and 

Full Executive Order, click here

ILFMA is committed to farmers markets and the food and value they bring to their customers and community.  Local food is even more important moving forward.  

Many winter farmers markets across the state have implemented on-line ordering, curbside pick up or delivery in response to their local communitys' regulations and recommendations.  Be sure to check in with your local farmers market via Facebook or email, for specific information. 

As we look toward summer, and the uncertainty ahead, ILFMA is committed to working to provide reliable and up to date information on resources for farmers market managers and vendors. 

Below are links to partners providing multiple farmers market resources;

New from University of Illinois Extension; Farmers Market Guide

Farmers Market Coalition

University of Illinois Extension

ILFMA will update resources as they become available. 

Also, please subscribe to the Facebook Group; Illinois Farmers Market Association Managers Network, to share ideas and collaborate with other farmers market managers.  This is the time to collaborate, share ideas and work together.  

MM Network Logo FInal