Illinois Farmers Market Association Conference— And IMPORTANT Sampling Certificate Updates

Illinois Farmers Market Association Conference will be held on Wednesday, February 17 at the Chicago Cultural Center. The Conference is geared towards farmers, vendors, market managers and volunteers to learn about the best practices at farmers markets, network with other managers and vendors and hear from local and national experts.The conference is chock full of amazing speakers and educational presentations on everything from “Vending Lessons We Learned the Hard Way” to “Going Social: How to Build and Maintain your Company’s Digital Brand.” Our very own Lindsay Record and Rebecca Osland will also be presenting on “Policy, Legal, and Regulatory Updates for Markets and Vendors.” Check out all of the great breakout sessions here: 2016 IFMA Conference Schedule

And don’t forget to REGISTER HERE! There’s also a great pre-conference film screening happening on the 16th. Learn more about the film screening here.

And speaking of regulatory updates, Illinois Stewardship Alliance was proud to champion the “Smarter Rules for Farmers Markets” bill in 2014 which aimed to standardize farmers market regulations across Illinois in order to make it easier for farmers to attend multiple markets. Because of this bill, new sampling regulations are going into effect this year.  Now farmers can offer product samples in multiple counties throughout the state with just ONE certificate! This is GREAT news! Sampling has been reported to grow product sales up to 30%! A special opportunity will be available for farmers market vendors to receive the training for the new Food Product Sampling Handler’s Certificate at the Illinois Farmers Market Conference. More details are available in the flyer below:

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With regards to the Food Product Sampling Handler’s Certificate, please note the following:

A. Individuals possessing a valid Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certificate (FSSMC) will be required to submit the following:
(1.)Payment of the $10 application fee.
(2.) An application on a form provided by the Department.

B.Individuals who do not possess a valid FSSMC shall submit the following:
(1.) Evidence of successful completion of Department farmers’ market sampling training
(2.) Evidence of successful completion of a food handler training course
(3.) An application on a form provided by the Department.
(4.) Payment of the $40 application fee.

C. Certificates issued to a Food Service Sanitation Manager (FSSM) will be valid 36 months from the issue date.

D. Certificates issued to a non-FSSM will be valid for 36 months from the date of the successful completion of the Department farmers’ market food sampling handler training.

E. Food Product Sampling Handler Certificates are not transferable between individuals.

F. Food Product Sampling Handler Certificates are required for all persons who engage in performing tasks such as unpacking, cutting, slicing, preparing or distributing food product samples.

An additional training will be held in Springfield, Illinois, at a to-be-determined date. Stay tuned for more details!