farmers markets

Dan Stroud / Flickr.com/dstroud (cc-by-nc)

A group of Illinois lawmakers are pushing an agenda intended to help farmers who sell at local markets.

Their legislation covers a variety of issues. One bill would set uniform fees and sanitation requirements at farmers markets across the state.

Lindsay Record, director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, says more people are going to farmers markets, but that isn't translating into better business.

“We actually received reports from across the states from farmers that sales are down," Record says. "So people are there, but maybe they aren’t purchasing.”

An Illinois legislative package aims to get more local farmers and small businesses into the marketplace.

It streamlines farmers market regulations, which currently vary by county.  The measure also expands the sale of homemade foods and makes it easier for producers to sell raw milk.  State Representative Sonya Harper of Chicago supports the measure.  

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Illinois is still without a budget after the last legislative session ended last week. Here's what that means for LINK card recipients shopping at farmer’s markets:

There are about 450,000 SNAP beneficiaries within the WNIJ listening area, according to Illinois Human Services data. That’s about a quarter of all recipients within the state.

Now, more and more farmers markets in the area are starting to allow those residents to pay with their LINK cards. That includes DeKalb’s market, which is in its fifth year of accepting LINK.

Jacquilyn Stephens / WNIJ

A new DeKalb-area group is looking into ways to connect small farms with a big regional market.

Restaurants, stores, and even schools say they want more locally raised food. A growing number of farmers say they want to supply it. The trick is getting them together -- and at a price that works for everyone. That’s where a regional food hub could help.

Dan Kenney convened the first meeting on the idea Thursday in DeKalb. He sees it as an economic engine that could include commercial kitchens, a distribution center, and great training opportunities.

Fruit shortage predicted for local farmers markets

Jun 15, 2012

Some local fruit growers say a warm March followed by frosts in April has killed most of their crops. They say that could result in  fewer apples, peaches and cherries this summer.