History of ILFMA

Our History

State Conference 2013

State House Inn Springfield

The Illinois Farmers Market Association (ILFMA) was formed as a network in 2009 and formally organized as a not-for-profit in 2012.

ILFMA has benefited from statewide partners and a passionate and active Board of Directors who contribute their time and expertise to moving ILFMA’s mission forward. Pat Stieren was selected as its first Executive Director in 2012 and served until November of 2015. Our current Executive Director is Janie Maxwell.

ILFMA has worked to connect the growing number of Illinois farmers markets, market managers, producers, and consumers and provide coordinated resources, advocacy, technical assistance, and training to ensure the continued vibrancy and sustainability of Illinois Farmers Markets.

ILFMA has worked closely with Experimental Station, Chicago, LinkUp Illinois to increase farmers’ markets accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, encouraging all markets to participate and ensuring farmers markets are accessible to the entire community.

In addition, ILFMA partners with local, state, regional, and national organizations in educating market managers, producers, and the general public on the economic, health, and social, and ecological benefits of providing, promoting, and expanding access to locally grown products and craft production through the support of community-based markets statewide.

The Illinois Farmers Market Association provides year-round training and professional development for farmers market , vendors and market operators, in person and online. ILFMA also promotes the economic, health, and nutritional benefits, provides regulation and policy input, and supports farmers markets and agricultural businesses in a wide variety of initiatives.

Aurora Farmers Market –

River St. Oct 1963

ILFMA Board Retreat

Oct 2015 Monticello

In 2020, ILFMA began offering a Certified Farmers Market Manager-Illinois, course for farmers market managers to ensure a new standard of knowledge and excellence.

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, the Illinois Farmers Market Association responded quickly and advocated to ensure Farmers Markets were deemed “essential businesses.” In addition, education and resources were developed to provide resources to market managers, vendors, community officials, and customers at each phase of Restore Illinois to help communities and farmers markets navigate this unprecedented and confusing time. Many markets utilized ILFMA’s suggested guidelines to operate successfully, and transition as policies changed.

State Conference

Kendall College 2012 

Lisa Bralts Kelly 2011

IFMN Workshop