Friday, December 16, 2011

Season's Greetings

Might be easier to get into the holiday spirit if we had some snow - how ABOUT this weather?? - but we'll do our best anyway.

We'll be back in 2012 with news about what we're working on with the Market, stuff going on in the world of food, and much more. Thanks so much for all your support in 2011 - we look forward to seeing everyone on May 5, 2012.

Friday, December 2, 2011


People often wonder what Market staff is up to in the off-season. While we would certainly like to be holed up in a cave somewhere, snuggled under a warm blankie, sipping hot chocolate, and watching Muppet Show reruns on DVD, we're actually doing nothing of the sort. One word sums the off-season up pretty well:


Policy nerds, market managers, and farmers enjoy getting together for conferences and exchanging ideas and best practices whenever they can, which is usually in the winter. The Illinois Grassroots Policy Advisory Committee will be having its annual meeting this week, and we'll be there; there's lots to talk about, both successes (Cottage Food Bill) and failures (a good national Farm Bill, for starters). UMATS will be speaking to growers about marketing themselves at one, and possibly two, Farm Beginnings gatherings in January, and will be speaking about community commitment to public markets at the Illinois Specialty Growers Conference, also in January. While we're there, we might be meeting with the Illinois Farmers Market Task Force for the first time, as well as with the steering committee for the fledgling Illinois Farmers Market Network, our statewide association. And it could be that we branch out of Illinois and deeper into the region by attending a conference put on by these folks in Ohio, but we're not sure yet.

Closer to home, we hope to have a Farmers Market Advisory Commission (possibly named something else) ready to go well in advance of the 2012 season, which starts May 5, 2012. There's also a report to deliver about the 2011 season to City Council sometime in January or very early February (for previous years' reports, click here). Applications for the 2012 season will also be available in very early February, and once those start rolling in... whoa. We'll also be working with the C-UPHD on firming up new local cottage food guidelines for food vendors, thanks to a brand new Illinois Cottage Food Bill going into effect January 1, 2012. Then there's the marketing plan, staff, social media upkeep, Sprouts and Art at the Market planning...

We're very much looking forward to the 2012 season and hope you are, too. In the meantime, you can get more frequent updates about our doings (and the doings of others that might interest you) via our Facebook, Twitter, and Google + feeds - links to those are on the right. If you're feeling particularly lonely for the Market on a snowy winter day, you can check out our Flickr page for some summery images - the link to those is on the right, too.

Stay tuned for more news!