Farmers Market Rules and Regulations

These regulations govern the operation, administration, and management of Insight Chicago Farmers Market (ICFM). These regulations are in place to ensure a successful and safe market experience for all. Regulations also ensure vendor compliance with City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events permits, as well as federal and state food safety standards. ICFM will implement and enforce all regulations pertaining to the operation of the Market. Vendors who violate any regulations will be subject to an immediate review of eligibility to participate in the market program as violations have the potential to put the entire market program at risk. ICFM may modify these Market regulations at any time, and take any reasonable action to enforce them up to and including removal from the market. ICFM requires all participants in the Market to be members in good standing as set forth in these regulations.

Updated March, 2024


  • May be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation.
  • Farmers must have one of our approved third-party sustainability certifications of their growing or animal husbandry practices to reflect their commitment to the Market’s mission. A list of approved certifications include:
    • American Grassfed Association
    • Animal Welfare Approved
    • Bloom Check
    • Certified Grass-Fed Organic Dairy
    • Certified naturally Grown
    • Certified Humane Raised and Handled
    • Demeter
    • Grain Millers Certified
    • Food Alliance Certified
    • Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program
    • USDA Certified Organic
  • Farmers may not use the term “organic” at ICFM unless their farm is certified organic by a USDA accredited third-party certifier and the farmer has submitted the current certification documentation with their ICFM application.
  • Hydroponic production must utilize nutrients that are OMRI approved for organic production. Farmers/vendors utilizing hydroponic growing techniques will be subject to approval on a case-by-case basis.
  • The resale of agricultural products is strictly prohibited, unless the product(s) are approved by ICFM as an associate vendor.
  • All sale products must be produced in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Indiana and approved of by ICFM.




The primary purpose of ready-to-eat and prepared food vendors at ICFM is to showcase the locally-grown, seasonal bounty of our Midwestern farmers in addition to culinary creations rooted in our communities. These vendors should provide shoppers with creative ideas, and highlight that locally-grown fruits, vegetables, and locally-made food products can be used as the base of a wide range of multicultural dishes.

  • Ready-to-eat and prepared food items must be source directly from vendors within the four-state region of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan who possess an approved sustainability certification.
    • Sourcing from wholesalers or other retailers from this region are not acceptable
    • Non-local oils, spices, vinegars, and other pantry staples are allowable as ingredients in prepared food but will not necessarily be approved for sale as stand-alone products.
  • ICFM requires that all ready-to-eat food vendors be involved in the production of the products they intend to sell. Vendors must create the recipe for the product; oversee and guide the production of the product in the processing facility or kitchen; and ensure the safety and quality of the product.
  • All ready-to-eat and prepared food vendors must understand and comply with all cottage food, county, and state and health department regulations.
  • Individual recipes shall highlight or feature seasonal ingredients sourced from ICFM growers and producers, and these ingredients shall be highlighted or used in a substantial way.
    • g. blueberries should be used during blueberry season; apples should be used during apple season. etc. Note: Garnishes, such as a single blueberry or basil flower placed on top of a pastry does not fulfill this requirement.
  • Seasonally-shifted items (jarred, pickled, canned, frozen) are acceptable in ready-to-eat foods when there is no available fresh product.
    • Frozen blueberries can be used in blueberry muffins outside of blueberry season, jarred tomatoes outside of tomato season, etc.
    • All seasonally-shifted items are required to be sourced from ICFM growers and producers.
  • All recipe ingredients used in products sold at market, must be listed and available for shoppers to review at market.
  • Common allergens must be clearly noted on recipes as well as on market displays and/or samples provided at ICFM.
  • ICFM reserves the right to prohibit a vendor from selling product(s) whether or not it has been previously approved.

Note: Vendors and/or anyone representing a vendor’s business atICFM are responsible for knowing where their ingredients are grown and/or sourced, production methods, and common allergen information.


A farmer may sell ready-to-eat, prepared or processed goods if the ingredients are sourced from their farm. The farmer may have a third party produce the goods (jams, cider, sausages, cheese, pickled vegetables, salsas, etc.) only if the farmer is: involved in the development of the recipe and responsible for the quality and safety of the end product.

Farmers selling ready-to-eat and prepared foods must meet the following guidelines:

  • Farmers must provide the application committee with all required licenses and certificates from the third-party facility/processor, and include ingredient lists for every processed product in their application. Farmers selling ready-to-eat foods, prepared foods, or value-added products must follow the Cottage Food Laws, county, state, FDA and USDA requirements. Vendors are solely responsible for knowing and acquiring all necessary licenses (see” Required Licenses, Certifications S Supporting Documents” section).
  • If the majority of the product being sold by a farmer throughout the entire season is a ready-to-eat/prepared/processed food, rather than fresh product or frozen meat, the Applications Committee may require them to be involved in the production (see definition above under “Guidelines, Production S Sourcing Of Ready-To-Eat and Prepared Food Items).
  • Farmers selling cider or any other value-added product based on a product from their farm must have their farm product processed by a batch processing method or other method that creates a clearly traceable audit trail from farm product to finished “value added” product. Examples of this documentation must be submitted with the ICFM Application.



Seasonally shifted frozen products are only allowed to be sold by a ICFM grower or producer as a way to extend their season and economic sustainability. Seasonally shifted frozen items must be grown by the farmer and processed in a licensed facility.

E.g., Frozen chestnuts may be sold by a chestnut farmer, and frozen fruit may be sold by a fruit grower.


Although dried fruit and herbs are allowed as secondary ingredients, they should be sourced from the market and dried. Vendors are encouraged to use fresh, seasonal ingredients. No ready-to-eat food vendor is allowed to sell dried fruit mixes or dried herbs “as is.” This may only be done by the farmer who produced the original fresh product.


Jarred or canned products must feature ingredients solely sourced from ICFM growers and producers.


Non-food items are only allowed at ICFM when they are the directly produced by the vendor. ICFM reserves the right to limit the sale of non-food products.


All vendor products must:

  • Be grown or produced in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin and reflect Midwest seasonality and/or reflect season extension practices.
  • Be reviewed and approved by ICFM
  • ICFM is a “producer only” market. This means that vendors may only sell products they have produced on their own land/facility or land/facility that they control, and ready-to-eat and prepared food vendors may sell only food that they have personally created. ICFM allows extremely limited exceptions, through the One Time and Associate Vendor policies (see below for explanation of these policies).
  • Be of the highest and freshest quality possible.
  • Raw, uncooked meats must be held at the correct temperatures in accordance with city and state regulations. Temperature logs must be kept in accordance with city and state regulations and available at market for review.
  • Comply with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations
  • Not be labeled “organic” unless they have been certified by a USDA approved third-party certifying agency
    • Certified organic vendors must follow USDA Organic Labeling requirements.


  • Any product that is illegal for sale in the market location
  • Products that have not been approved by ICFM
  • Live birds or animals for human consumption
  • Fresh meat and poultry
  • Raw milk
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Pork Products


ICFM reserves the right to question the validity of any product sold at ICFM . ICFM also reserves the right to request proof of any product’s origin, and has the right to inspect any vendor’s stated location of product production, at any reasonable time, without prior notice. A vendor must submit proof of a product’s validity or site of production upon request. Failure to provide the necessary information will constitute a violation of ICFM regulations and may result in removal from the market.


ICFM reserves the right to undertake a quality review of any product sold at the market at any time. If ICFM receives a complaint about a product’s quality (e.g. taste, appearance, ingredients, place of origin) that product may be reviewed.

  • Vendors will be notified in writing if the Applications Committee decides to further review a product(s).
  • The Applications Committee will review/sample the product within a two-week period and do one of the following:
    • Allow the vendor to continue selling the product in its current state.
  • Recommend a specific change to the product to improve the quality, or the source/sourcing of the product or ingredient.
  • Ask the vendor to discontinue the product in question.


  1. Certificater of General Liability Insurance: Required for all vendors. Minimum of $1,000,000 in aggregate coverage.
  2. State Sales Tax License: Required for all vendors.
  3. Egg License: Required for vendors who procude and sell eggs.
  4. Food Processor’s License: Required for vendors who process food off-site. Ex. Pastries from another bakery.
  5. Third-Party Certification: Required for farmers.
  6. Summer Sanication Course Certificate: Required for all prepared food vendors or vendors who will distribute samples.
  7. Food and Non Food Ingredient List:



Vendor fees are waived for this season. A stall is defined by a 10×10’ square of selling space (ie: 100 square feet).

Vendors who make mid-season changes that affect the predominant category or increase the number of stall square footage must receive approval from the Applications Committee.


Attendance is critical to the overall success of each vendor and the market as a whole. A consistent shopping experience is essential to maintaining a returning base of customers. We depend on and appreciate your commitment to consistent attendance.

  • ICFM operates rain or shine in all non-emergency weather conditions.
  • ICFM will be open on national holidays unless specifically noted.
  • ICFM will operate from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday August 17th.
  • Market operating hours are subject to change.
  • Whenever possible, vendors should provide at least seven days notice prior to a planned absence so that customers can be appropriately notified. Notice should be provided in writing to
  • Advance notice is not required for unplanned absences (for example due to illness, vehicle breakdowns, or other emergencies); however vendors should contact ICFM via phone at 312-567-6123 at their earliest ability. Failure to attend markets and/or no call/no shows will result in the review of eligibility to participate in the market program in the current or future seasons.


  • All times are in Central Standard Time (CST).
  • Vendors must arrive at specified times for each market location.
  • Vendors must be set up 15 minutes prior to market start.
  • Emergency situations that may result in late arrival must be communicated to ICFM staff via phone at 312-567-6123 as soon as possible. Late arrivals may be subject to special load-in procedures to ensure the safety of our community.
  • Vendors may leave only after the market has closed and a safe exit can be made as determined by ICFM Staff.
  • Vendors may not depart early from ICFM without prior approval.
  • Vehicles must remain parked in the parking lot at the space designated for parking at all times. Vendors who park at any other site of the parking lot will be subject to an immediate review of eligibility to participate in the market program as the site will be open to visitors and this puts market guests at serious risk. Vendors will also

be subject to fines if assessed by ICFM for any damages incurred by the vendor.

  • Vendor vehicles must yield to any pedestrians on the path.
  • Vendors must use the appropriate entrance for the location of their setup at market.


Box trucks or trailers will be allowed to park on the north end of the parking lot.


  • All vendors agree to read, understand, and abide by the market’s Emergency Action Plan.
  • All vendors agree to read, understand, and abide by the market’s Public Health Safety Plans and any city, state, or federal public health requirements.
  • All ICFM markets are conducted in accordance with State, Federal, and local laws.
  • Vendors must keep their area (including back area) clean, tidy, and clear of produce trimmings, produce discards, and piles of boxes.
  • Smoking and e-cigarettes are not allowed in the market area.
  • Vendors must comply with ICFM Staff directions in all matters relating to safety and sanitation.

Product Sampling

Vendors are encouraged to sample their product when allowable by the City of Chicago. When offering samples, vendors should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Each vendor staff providing the sample must have a City of Chicago Summer Sanitation License.
  • Keep samples in clean, covered containers.
  • Use toothpicks or compostable utensils to distribute the samples.
  • Use clean, disposable plastic gloves when cutting products for samples.
  • Use cutting boards that are smooth, non-absorbent, and easily cleaned.
  • Keep control of samples at all times. Self-service by customers is prohibited.
  • Provide a waste container at the sampling area for public use.
  • Do not prepare (except trimming) food products on site.

Potentially Hazardous Foods

It is the responsibility of the Vendor to follow the Department of Health guidelines regarding the sale of potentially hazardous products. If any vendor is deemed to be in violation of health codes pertaining to such products, the following measures will be taken by ICFM : (1) The vendor and the vendor’s products will be immediately removed from the Market for that day, and (2) The proper regulatory agency will be notified as soon as possible.

Product Temperature

Vendors are responsible for monitoring and maintaining proper temperatures according to health codes.

Transportation and Storage

Vendors are responsible for proper transportation and storage of potentially hazardous foods to, at, and from the Market (i.e. refrigerated cold storage containers, refrigerated vehicle capable of maintaining proper temperatures as outlined above).


Vendor locations are NOT permanent and may be changed at the discretion of ICFM Staff for any market day during the season and/or annually. In making any determination in this regard ICFM will consider the following:

  • Safety
  • Number of stall spaces needed
  • Electricity needs
  • Vendor’s marketing ability and product promotion
  • The quality of the vendor’s product display and customer service
  • The participation of owners at GCM


Electricity is not available at the market.


  • Vendors must supply their own tables, tents, chairs, display arrangements, and weather protection.
  • All tents must be weighted with at least 25 lbs per tent leg; tents without proper weights are subject to immediate removal by ICFM Staff
  • Tables must be sturdy and stable with tops covered.
  • Tables shall not be filled beyond load capacity and the products on the display table must be secured.
  • Generators used to power coolers or cooking stations must be small, quiet, and out of the way. All use of generators must be approved in advance by ICFM. Power cords may not present trip hazards.
  • Vendors who have generators that emit excessive noise or block the flow of traffic will be asked to move or replace the generator.


  • All vendors must display a sign, clearly identifying the name of their establishment, city, and state where their production occurs.
  • Each product for sale must have a clear, readable identification sign with the price per unit.
  • All ready-to-eat and prepared foods must have ingredient lists available within the selling space, either on a board or product sign, including the source of the ingredients and common allergens.
  • Hydroponic produce and plant production must be marked accordingly.


Vendors must display their produce in a beautiful, clean, well-presented manner. ICFM reserves the right to suggest improved displays.


Each vendor must dispose of their refuse in the appropriate on-site receptacles. Compostable, recyclable, and landfill waste must be sorted into the appropriate receptacles. Vendors must adhere to ICFM plastic reduction initiative. Any large amounts of trash or unwanted product must be removed from ICFM and disposed of off-site by the vendor. Before leaving ICFM , vendors must collect all matter and debris in their area, whether or not the litter originated in their area. Vendors who fail to clean up properly face fines of up to $1,000 from the ICFM. Repeat offenders face suspension or removal from ICFM .


Any found items should be turned in to the Insight Info Booth. Refer any customers looking for lost items to the Insight Info Booth for assistance.


Please note, GCM does not reimburse for Illinois Senior Farmers Market checks or WIC Farmers Market checks as a market. Vendors themselves must apply to accept a currency  (such as Link) and are responsible for processing the funds. Vendors are welcome and encouraged to seek out other food access programs that serve those facing food insecurity in our community.


Scales must be legal-for-trade commercial scales and may be certified annually by the City of Chicago. The face of the scale must be visible to the buyer. The use of a non-legal-for- trade scale at ICFM is prohibited.


  • A vendor or a consumer may file a complaint with ICFM if they suspect a vendor is violating market regulations.
  • Complaints should be directed in writing to Green City Market at or by mail at Attn: Volunteer Program 2525 S Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60616.
  • False, unfounded, or unsupported challenges made to ICFM will result in the review of eligibility of the complainant to participate in the market program.
  • A business site inspection triggered by a complaint may be conducted without prior notice.


  • If ICFM receives a complaint (including the complainant’s name, address, and phone number) pertaining to quality, conduct, or unfair practices of a vendor, ICFM staff will immediately contact and/or visit the Vendor and request that the complaint be remedied. ICFM staff will follow up to ensure compliance.
  • Vendors are required to satisfy any customer complaint under any circumstances. They must accept returned product and dispose of it off-site. Failure to accept product returns from customers will be considered a violation of the ICFM regulations.
  • If the complaint is not remedied immediately to the satisfaction of ICFM and ICFM determines that the offense being complained about is detrimental to other vendors’ sales or to ICFM as a whole, the following actions will be taken:
    • A written warning will be given to the offending vendor, including the date, time and nature of complaint, with the expectation that the offense will be remedied.
  • A second complaint may result in disciplinary action being imposed by the Applications Committee or Board of Directors, the severity of which will be directly related to the gravity and/or repetition of the offense.
  • A third complaint will result in the possibility of a 90-day suspension and/or permanent removal from the market.
  • A vendor who is removed from ICFM forfeits all monies paid to ICFM for fees.
  • Vendors disciplined or removed from a market by the action of GCM Applications Committee shall have the right of appeal and review by GCM’s Board of Directors at their next scheduled Board Meeting. The decision by the GCM Board of Directors shall be considered final.


Vendors and their representatives may be removed or suspended from ICFM or may have their selling privileges limited, or revoked by the Applications Committee or Board of Directors for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to obey and conform to State of Illinois, health code regulations, and City of Chicago regulations and laws.
  • Failure to follow ICFM Market Regulations.
  • Causing or maintaining unsafe or unsanitary conditions at ICFM.
  • Behavior that obstructs a vendor or other vendors’ ability to transact business at ICFM .
  • Any violation of Cook County Weights and Measures regulations.
  • A verifiable complaint about the validity of any product sold at ICFM .