Vendor Policies

Old Capitol Farmers Market Vendor Policies

The Old Capitol Farmers Market is a producer-only farmers market located in the heart of Downtown Springfield at or near the corner of 4th and Adams Street. The 2017 season of the Old Capitol Farmers Market operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays for a total of 25 weeks, beginning Wednesday, May 17th and ending Saturday, October 28th. This is a total of 50 Market Dates. The Market will take place every Saturday and Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  RAIN OR SHINE.

Market Mission

The Old Capitol Farmers Market strives to:

  • Support small farms and local growers by providing a venue to directly market their goods.
  • Strengthen the local economy by providing a venue for the public to connect with local growers, artisans, musicians, and entrepreneurs.
  • Build community by providing a public gathering space for community members to engage, interact, and exchange ideas with the people and projects around them.
  • Encourage healthy lifestyles through increasing availability of fresh produce and locally raised food.
  • Celebrate the diversity of locally-grown food and artisan products that are unique to Springfield and central Illinois.
  • Support, revitalize, and grow downtown Springfield by increasing foot traffic and patronage to the downtown area.

Market Governance

The Market is governed by Downtown Springfield Inc. and managed through a partnership with Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) and Springfield Area Arts Council. Downtown Springfield Inc. retains ownership of the Market and is responsible for consumer marketing and sponsorships. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is responsible for Market operations, including registration, approval of applicants, space assignments, inspections, vendor disputes, educational programming, and other processes involving vendors. Springfield Area Arts Council is responsible for vetting artisan vendors and arranging for local musicians to provide live music and entertainment. Please contact the Market Manager, Lindsay Keeney at with questions, or call the ISA office at 217-528-1563.

Definition of Producer-Only

All items must be directly and personally homegrown, handmade, and/or created from locally-owned operations within the state of Illinois. Examples of approvable items include produce, flowers/plants, meat, dairy, baked goods, prepared foods, and art. Items that are mass-produced or purchased from wholesale auctions are not permitted.

Definition of Local

The Old Capitol Farmers Market defines local as grown, raised, gathered, or produced within 200 miles. The Market reserves the right to accept applications outside of this radius on a case by case basis.

Approved Vendor Business Types and Definitions:

A vendor is an owner/operator of a business entity approved to sell at the Old Capitol Farmers Market from May 17 to October 28, 2017.

Categories and definitions of vendors at the Old Capitol Farmers Market

  • Grower: A Grower is a person actively involved and invested in the planting, growing, raising, and harvesting of agricultural products. This definition includes ranchers and dairymen. Agricultural products are fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, honey, eggs, fresh herbs, flowers, and any meat, dairy, or other agricultural product that is produced on farm and sold by that farm.  
  • Local Food Vendors: A local food vendor is any vendor selling food products that feature primarily local ingredients, whose mission and core values are to support local farmers, and whose total local food ingredient purchases account for more than 50% of their raw ingredient costs. See the Local Food Vendor Policies section for more details.
  • Non-Local Food Vendors: Any vendor selling food products that are unavailable
    in Illinois (coffee, olives, chocolate etc.) or that are made from ingredients that are difficult to source in Illinois. Most baked goods and bread fall under this
    category since local grain is difficult to source. See the Non-Local Food Vendor Policies section for more details.
  • Artisan: An artisan vendor sells products designed, fabricated and hand-crafted by the artisan vendor. Acceptance is based on originality of design, materials and production techniques. All crafts must be of excellent workmanship both in quality and design. The items must show evidence of manual skills obtainable through a significant period of dedication and experience. All artisans will be juried before acceptance into the Market.

80/20 Policy:

Central to the Old Capitol Farmers Market mission supporting farmers and creating markets for locally grown and produced foods is the fostering of relationships and awareness between customers and their food (and therefore the growers of their food). This value is reflected in our “grower first” policy that seeks to limit the ratio of Non-Local Food Vendors to 20% with the remaining 80% of vendors being Growers or Local Food Vendors. The Market reserves the right to refuse any application in order to maintain this balance.

Note: Artisans are not included in this ratio.

Vendor Requirements

  • All items must be directly and personally homegrown, handmade, and/or created from locally-owned operations within the state of Illinois. Examples of approvable items include produce, flowers/plants, meat, honey, dairy, baked goods, prepared foods, art, and jewelry. Items that are mass-produced or purchased from wholesale auctions are not permitted.
    • For vendors who prepare food on site at the Market, an allowance to sell mass-produced beverages such as soda may be given by the Market Manager. Approval must be granted prior to selling these types of beverages at the Old Capitol Farmers Market.
  • Certificates/Licenses/Permits

All products must comply with local, state, and/or federal health ordinances. Please contact the Sangamon County Department of Public Health at 217-535-3145 to get up to speed on current regulations. Please allow at least 30 days working time for any health department reviews and inspections. Food licenses, permits, and certification copies must be included with your Market application and must be kept current for the entire Market season. An application is not considered complete without the inclusion of all applicable permits for all listed products. Please contact Market Manager if you need further information on Certificates, Licenses, and Permits required.

  • Products sold by weight must comply with the standards of the State of Illinois for sales by weight. All scales must be legal and certified prior to participation at the Market. For a list of Illinois Registered Small Scale Service Companies, visit or call 217/785-8466.
  • Liability Insurance

Vendor shall upload with their application a copy of their Certificate of Liability Insurance for a minimum of: $100,000 per person; $250,000 per occurrence; and $100,000 property damage.  Downtown Springfield Inc. must be listed as the “Certificate Holder” or as an “Additional Insured” (or both).

  • Vehicle Liability Insurance

Vendor shall upload with their application a copy of the vendor’s vehicle insurance if vendor’s Market Space is a space assigned to accept a vehicle.  It is the participant’s sole responsibility to provide updated, current proof of vehicle insurance throughout the Market season.

  • All vendors must have an Illinois Business Tax (IBT) number before their first day of sales at the Market and must comply with tax laws and requirements in accordance with the State of Illinois and City. The IBT number must be listed on the Market application and applications lacking the IBT will be considered incomplete. In order to receive an IBT number, vendors must first register their business and complete the REG-1 Form.

Vendor Concern Form

Vendors who have concerns about the market should contact the Market Manager to complete a Vendor Concern Form. Please contact the Market Manager by email at

Application Procedure

The Old Capitol Farmers Market uses online software called ManageMyMarket to register vendors, track certifications, and assign spaces. Vendors must apply to the Market online.  Applications are available at Vendors will need to create an account, select the Old Capitol Farmers Market, complete the online application process and upload supporting documents. There is a $15 application fee charged for all approved applications

Additionally, current products must be listed when registering through the Manage My Market application. Only items listed in your completed application can be sold at Old Capitol farmers Market. You must list all products that you plan to bring to market. If you wish to add products to your list you must do so by logging in to your vendor profile at Any new items added to your product list must first be approved by the Market Manager before bringing these products to Market.

Application Approval

Applications should not be considered approved until an approval notification is given by the Market Manager. A vendor may be prohibited from participating in the Market if the Market Manager determines that a vendor does not fit any of the criteria of the Market as set forth in the Vendor Policies. In no event shall the approval or disapproval of an application be based upon the applicant’s race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other protected status. In no event shall the approval or disapproval of an application be based on an applicant’s affiliation or lack thereof with Downtown Springfield Inc., Illinois Stewardship Alliance, or genHkids.

Priority for application acceptance will take into account:

  • Vendor type. In line with the Market mission, local growers will receive first priority.
  • Locality. Priority will be given to growers within 200 miles. Growers outside of this radius will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Use of sustainable practices. In line with the Market mission, growers who have demonstrated a commitment to using sustainable practices will receive priority.
  • Quality and uniqueness of product. The Market encourages diversity and strives to offer a variety of locally grown and hand-made products to the public. In the case that the Market determines there are too many vendors already selling the same product, an application may not be accepted.
  • Percentage of locally-grown ingredients used in value-added products. In line with the Market’s mission, the Market encourages the use of locally-grown ingredients in order to provide further economic support for local growers and showcase the locally-grown products that are unique to central Illinois. Priority will be given to vendors who demonstrate a commitment to using locally-grown products.
  • History of attendance, good conduct, compliance, and customer service.


The 2017 vendor fee structure will be as follows:  

  • Market Season Fees
    • Full Season Wednesday and Saturday:  $500 (50 Market days = $10 per Market day)
    • Full Season Wednesday Only: $250 (25 market dates)
    • Full Season Saturday Only: $300 (25 market dates)
    • Half season: $300 (25 market dates of your choosing)
    • ⅓ Market: $120 (8 dates of your choosing)
    • Daily rate: $25 per Market day. *
  • Manage My Market Registration Fee: $15

All vendors must register online with Manage My Market. No exception. There is a yearly registration fee of $15. Details on how to register can be found in the Manage My Market information page. If you do not have access to the internet or need assistance with filling out an application, you may schedule a time to register with the Market Manager at the Illinois Stewardship Alliance office by calling (217) 528-1563.

  • Inspection Fee: $80. Only new vendors will be obligated to pay the one-time $80 inspection fee. For more information, see the Inspection Policy.
  • Electricity: There will be no charge for electricity at this time.

*Daily vendors must be pre-scheduled and approved with market staff. They are required to pay ahead of time or the day of the market before 8 AM at market information booth. If payment is not received by 8 AM, a $10 late fee will be charged.


All payments must be made in advance unless prior approval is granted by the Market Manager. A vendor will be asked to leave if their payment was not made. FEES ARE NON-TRANSFERABLE (they cannot be transferred to someone else, nor can they be transferred from one season to the next). If an application is denied, any payment made will be returned.

  • Payments may be made by credit/debit card using the PayPal function as part of our online application system. Please log in to your vendor profile at and click on your ACCOUNTS tab. Please contact the Market Manager if there are questions regarding this process.

Inspection Policy

Inspections will be conducted over the course of the market at the discretion of the Market Manager to both new and existing vendors.New growers to Old Capitol Farmers Market must have an inspection completed by the Market Manager and/or inspection team and must pay a one-time $80 inspection fee. Non-growers do not have to be inspected in order to attend the Market. However, if the origin of a product is ever called into question, an inspection may be scheduled.

Established growers may be visited by the Market Manager and/or an inspection team on a rotating basis throughout the seasons. There are no additional charges for these inspections. Vendors who refuse inspections will not be able to participate in the Market and may forfeit their space without refund.  Farm inspections and visits are done to provide evidence to the Manager that the products sold at Market are grown by the vendor on his/her designated property, to provide the Manager with context regarding farmer operations, to gather information to better market the grower to patrons, and to familiarize market staff with the excellent operations we represent as voices of the Old Capitol Farmers Market.Vendors are not obligated to provide any trade secrets or personal growing methods to the Market Manager or the inspection team.

Collaborative Farm/Partner Information

Occasionally a vendor will want to sell, or “carry”, a product made or produced by someone else who is not a vendor at the Market. Collaboration of farms and kitchens is permitted, but the collaborative farm or partner must pay the $80 inspection fee and the $15 fee for registering as a vendor on Manage My Market. In addition, all collaborative products must be clearly labeled with the name of the farm or partner where they were produced and the location of origin. Not only is this state law but it’s our market policy. Any farm found to be selling products that are not grown or raised on their farm which are not properly labeled or which have not paid the required fees will be asked to immediately stop sales of those products and may forfeit their contractual agreement with the market without refund.

Local Food Vendor Policies

Local Food Vendors are any vendors who source more than 50% of their raw ingredients locally. All vendors who are capable of sourcing 50% of their products locally will be asked to do so, including food trucks. Those who cannot comply may not be eligible to participate in the market. Signage to advertise the local products and/or the farms where your local ingredients were purchased is required.  Vendors may be asked to provide proof of local purchases through receipts or other means. Vendors who cannot demonstrate proof of local purchases may forfeit their contract with the Market without refund. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is able to provide vendors with lists of local sources and aid in finding specific ingredients. Please call 217-528-1563 or contact for assistance. As a reminder, all products must be hand-crafted by the vendor.

Non-Local Food Vendor Policies

All non-local food items must be hand-crafted, produced, or freshly prepared by the vendor. For baked goods sold at the market, baked goods must be from scratch. The use of chemical preservatives and additives is strongly discouraged. Although the main ingredient for food products in this category may be difficult to source locally, highest priority will be given to vendors who demonstrate a commitment to using supplemental local ingredients (i.e. local blueberries in blueberry muffins or local beef in a hamburger being sold by a mobile food vendor) as this falls in line directly with the Market’s mission of supporting local growers and celebrating the diversity of Illinois grown products. Signage to promote the use of locally-grown ingredients is highly encouraged. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is able to provide vendors with lists of local sources and aid in finding specific ingredients. Please call 217-528-1563 or contact for assistance. As a reminder, all products must be hand-crafted by the vendor. The Market reserves the right not to approve any application that does not adequately complement the Market.

Attendance and Absence Policy

Vendors must be present by 7:00 a.m, otherwise space is subject to reassignment to other vendors. Vendors are required to notify Illinois Stewardship Alliance a minimum of 24 hours prior to Market Day if they do not plan to utilize their reserved space so it can be reassigned to another vendor. In the event of  three unexcused absences, ISA shall have the option to permanently reassign participant’s Market space without any further notice to vendor. In the event of a last minute emergency prohibiting the vendor from attending, the vendor must notify the Market Manager or Illinois Stewardship Alliance office as soon as possible to report the absence.  In such case of an emergency, vendor absence will be excused at the discretion of the Market Manager. Vendors will not be refunded vendor fees for cancellations or unexcused absences except in extenuating circumstances at the Market Manager’s discretion. Cancellations may be made by phone at 217-528-1563 or by emailing Lindsay Keeney at


Vendors are asked to arrive and check in with Market staff at the Market Information Booth 1 hour before market start time (7:00 a.m.)  Vendors arriving after 7:00 a.m. will not be permitted to enter the Market with their vehicle, but may park and walk their booth materials into the Market.


Vendors are expected to provide their own tents and tables. Spaces are 20 feet wide by 10 feet deep. All tents and canopies are strongly encouraged to be weighted down with at least 25 pounds per leg, regardless of forecast weather conditions. Market Staff may require that a tent be taken down if proper weights are not used and securely fastened to the tent legs.


Vendors may drive their vehicles into the Market after 12:30 p.m. Vendors are not permitted to leave the market before the official market end time UNLESS they have run out of product. Vendors who run out of product early will not be allowed to drive their vehicles into or out of the Market but must either wait until the official closing of the Market or walk their booth materials out of the market. Vendors who leave the market early without cause will be subject to disciplinary policies.

Space Assignments

All vendor space assignments are issued by the Market Manager upon application approval. Market Staff intend to provide prior-year vendors with their same space at the upcoming Market, unless vendors request a different space. Space assignments are prioritized by longevity at the Market and/or to vendors whose operations most closely reflect the values and mission of the Old Capitol Farmers Market.


Samples are allowed and encouraged. However, before sampling please be sure that you are familiar with and abide by any and all Public Health regulations regarding food sampling. Vendors must maintain their own temporary handwashing station if they plan to slice, cut or prepare food on-site (as required by IDPH). Please call the Sangamon County Department of Public Health , Environmental Health Division at 217-535-3145  for details on sampling and handwashing station regulations. *Note: New Sampling Regulations and Certificates are available for the 2016 season. Learn more at


Vendors shall be responsible for cleaning their Market Space at the end of each Market Day. Any vendor caught leaving trash in the Market area, or disposing of trash in innapropriate areas will receive a written warning for a first offense. A $50 fine will be levied if the infraction is repeated a second time.

Disciplinary Action:

Any behavior deemed by the Market Manager to be disruptive or to cause a hostile work or shopping environment shall be cause for eviction of the vendor and possible legal action. Common courtesy and mutual respect are essential for a successful Market.  Any complaints regarding a vendor should be directed to the Market Manager, who will investigate the complaint. The Market Manager reserves the right to choose disciplinary measures that match the infraction which may not necessarily follow the order below.

  • 1st Offense/Complaint: Verbal Warning issued by the Market Manager
  • 2nd Offense/Complaint: Written Warning issued by the Market Manager
  • 3rd Offense/Complaint: Suspension of Market vendor privileges/cancellation of lease with vendor without refund.

Market Token Program

All vendors will be required to participate in the Market Token Program and accept Red General Purpose Tokens. Vendors selling eligible products will be required to accept Orange and Yellow Link Tokens. Vendors are required to sign the Market Token Agreement Form in order to receive approval to sell at the Old Capitol Farmers Market. More details will be available prior to the start of the market season.

Hold Harmless and Indemnify Agreement

The Old Capitol Farmers Market  is an arrangement whereby space at the Market is leased by Downtown Springfield Incorporated, Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and genHkids to vendors who are sole proprietors, partnerships, or independent entities. All vendors agree to hold harmless and indemnify the aforementioned organizations, the city of Springfield, and agents, representatives and employees of those organizations, from any and all responsibilities, losses of income, claims, damages, lawsuits, reasonable attorney fees, costs, expenses or judgments incurred by, or resulting from, the enforcement of any rules or from the sale or consumption of goods sold by the vendors at the Market.

2017 Vendor Agreement

I have read the 2017 Vendor document and agree to adhere to the policies, guidelines and rules as stated and agree to submit all required documents and fee payments via ManageMyMarket by the May 1, 2017 deadline. If I am not able to utilize ManageMyMarket, paperwork and payments must be delivered to Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) prior to the May 1, 2017 deadline.  I understand that failure to comply with all applicable rules may result in vendor termination and forfeiture of any paid fees.