Vendor Policies & Application

The Old Capitol Farmers Market (“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 2018 season of the Old Capitol Farmers Market operates on Wednesdays and Saturdays for a total of 24 weeks, beginning Wednesday, May 16th and ending Saturday, October 27th. This is a total of 48 market dates. The Market will take place every Wednesday and Saturday 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. (DSI) and managed by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA). Springfield Area Arts Council (SAAC) finds and hires local performers for Saturday markets, oversees any other performances, and approves artisan applications. 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, and other processes involving vendors as well as educational programming and consumer marketing during the market. Please contact the Market Manager, Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant 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 and to refuse applications that don’t meet this definition.

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 16 to October 27, 2018.

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 dairy farmers. 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.  ALL vendors must have signage (and will be required to post it each week) that states the farm name and location of origin (address).
  • Value-Added Food: A value-added food vendor sells products in which the physical state of the agricultural products has been altered. Products may be cooked, canned, dried, baked, and preserved (e.g., flour, cheese, ice cream, breads, pastries, jams, and jellies. The Market encourages this category of vendors to source ingredients locally, especially from Old Capitol Farmers Market growers and producers. Certain certificates/licenses/permits may be required.
  • Mobile Food: A mobile food vendor sells food that is freshly made and available for immediate consumption on-site. The Market encourages this category of vendors to source ingredients locally, especially from Old Capitol Farmers Market growers and producers. Certain certificates/licenses/permits may be required.
  • Complimentary (Non-Local Food): 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. The Market encourages this category of vendors to source ingredients sustainably through fair trade and single origin business practices.
  • 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 by the Springfield Area Arts Council before acceptance into the Market and must complete an application through ManageMyMarket.

Non-Profit Community Groups may also apply for a space a the market. See Community Group Policies for more details.

70/30 Policy

Central to the Old Capitol Farmers Market mission of 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 Complimentary (Non-Local Food) Vendors, Value-Added Vendors, and Mobile Vendors to 30% with the remaining 70% of vendors being Growers. The Market reserves the right to refuse any application in order to maintain this balance.

Note: Artisans are not included in this ratio.

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. The fee will not be charged to applications that are not approved.

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. The Market Manager will inspect booths periodically throughout the market season. If you bring items not on your list, you will be asked to remove those items from the table (see Disciplinary Action).

Application Approval

Applications should not be considered approved until the Market Manager gives an approval notification. 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, gender, 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 Springfield Area Arts Council.

Priority for application acceptance will take into account:

  • Vendor type. In line with the Market mission, Local Growers and Local Food Vendors 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.
  • Quality and uniqueness of product. The Market encourages diversity and strives to offer a variety of locally grown and handmade 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.
  • Use 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.
  • Likewise, artisans are encouraged to source their materials from locally owned companies and to use environmentally sustainable processes whenever possible.
  • History of attendance, good conduct, compliance, and customer service.


The 2018 vendor fee structure will be as follows:

  • Market Season Fees
    • Full Season Wednesday and Saturday:  $500 (48 Market days)
    • Full Season Wednesday Only: $300 (24 market dates)
    • Full Season Saturday Only: $300 (24 market dates)
    • Half season: $300 (24 market dates of your choosing)
    • ⅓ Market: $120 (8 dates of your choosing)
    • Daily rate: $25 per Market day*
    • Street entertainment $5 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. for approved vendors. 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 Growers 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 and street entertainers must be pre-scheduled one week in advance and approved by market staff. They are required to pay ahead of time or the day of the market at the market information booth. If payment is not received on the day of the market, a $10 late fee will be charged. Daily vendors and street entertainers also must register through ManageMyMarket.


All payments must be made in advance unless the Market Manager grants prior approval. A vendor or street entertainer 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.

Vendor Requirements

All items must be directly and personally homegrown, raised, 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.  Re-selling is not allowed.

  • For Mobile Food 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.


All products must comply with local, state, and/or federal health ordinances. Please contact Kevin Dreesman at 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.

You can stay up to date on the certificates needed for  Cottage Food or Farmers Market Sampling by following the link, and check out the IDPH Pre-Inspection Checklist to insure that you are following safety protocols. 

Scale Certification: 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 If you plan to sell by weight, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)  will be testing the scales.  Any scale that is “not legal for trade” will be rejected and you will be charged for it. The IDOA fees for checking a scale with a 30lb capacity and lower is $20. The fee for a scale with a capacity of over 30lb is $50. For additional information  For additional questions, contact the IDOA Weights and Measures office at 800-582-0468.

Liability Insurance

All vendors (including artisans) 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

All vendors 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 (including artisans) 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 of Springfield. The IBT number must be listed on the Market application; 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 Concerns

Vendors who have concerns about the market should contact the Market Manager at or call Illinois Stewardship Alliance at 217-528-1563.

Inspection Policy

Inspections of both new and existing vendors will be conducted over the course of the market at the discretion of the Market Manager. 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. If an existing grower adds a new line/product, that line will need to be inspected before bringing it to Market (for example, adding beef to a vegetable operation). Non-growers (Mobile Food Vendors, Complimentary Vendors) 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.

Existing vendors may be subject to an inspection by the Market Manager and/or inspection team on a rotating basis throughout the season. There are no additional charges for these inspections.

Vendors who refuse inspections will not be able to participate in the Market and will forfeit their space without refund. Farm inspections and visits are done to provide evidence to the Market Manager that (1) the products sold at Market are grown by the vendor on his/her designated property, (2) to provide the Market Manager with context regarding farmer operations, (3) to gather information to better market the grower to patrons, and (4) to familiarize market staff with the excellent operations we represent at the Old Capitol Farmers Market. Vendors are not obligated to provide any trade secrets or personal growing methods to the Market Manager and/or the inspection team.

Additional information regarding OCFM inspection policies is available at

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 ManageMyMarket. 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 also 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.

Signature Ingredient Rule

Starting in 2018, both Mobile Food and Value Added Vendors will be asked to include a signature ingredient and show proof of purchase through a receipt book, provided by the Market, documenting the date of purchase, amount purchased, and total cost. Vendors will also be given a chalkboard to display with the name of the signature item, the local ingredient(s) used, and farm(s) where purchased. The signature ingredient(s) will not be a requirement this year, so no one will be removed from the market for noncompliance. Vendors will be asked about their intent to use local on their ManageMyMarket application. The Market will promote the Signature Ingredient Rule via social media and information at the Market Booth. 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 homemade, hand-crafted or freshly prepared by the vendor.

Complimentary Vendor Policies

All non-local food items must be hand-crafted, produced, or freshly prepared by the vendor. Preference will be given to businesses that source products sustainably through fair trade and single origin practices.  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.

Artisan Vendor Policies

Artisan goods must be hand-crafted by the vendor.  No re-selling is allowed.  The products must have artistic merit, as determined by Springfield Area Arts Council.  The use of locally purchased components is encouraged as is the use of environmentally sustainable processes.  If the Market Manager determines there are too many vendors already selling the same product, an application may not be accepted.


Vendors are asked to arrive and check in with market staff at the Market Information Booth one hour before market start time (this would be 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.

Attendance and Absence Policy

Vendors must be present by 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday; 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 use 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 re-assign 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 Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant 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 inappropriate areas will receive a written warning for a first offense. A $50 fine will be levied each time the infraction is repeated.


Vendors may drive their vehicles into the market after 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 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.

Disciplinary Action

Common courtesy and mutual respect are essential for a successful market. 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. 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 without refund.

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 Springfield Area Arts Council 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 use or consumption of goods sold by the vendors at the Market.

Market Token Program

All vendors (including Artisans) will be required to participate in the Market Token Program and accept Red General Purpose Tokens. All 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.


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 2018 season. Learn more at

Illinois Department of Public Health – Farmers Markets information at


Vendors are expected to provide their own tents and tables. All tents and canopies should 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.


The State of Illinois requires that all growers display signage with their business name and farm location/product origin. The Market requires that all vendors, no matter what products they sell, prominently display signage noting their business name and their product origin. Signage will be provided to the vendor by the Market Manager. Changes to product origins need to be submitted to the Market Manager three days prior to the next market. Vendor signage is important not only for promotional purposes but also for tracking vendor attendance and location/placement. Please keep the vendor signage within assigned booth space(s). Signage will also be provided to artisans by the Market Manager and they will be required to post it.

Space Assignments

All vendors are issued a 10” x 20” space by the Market Manager upon application approval. Market staff intend to provide prior-year vendors with their same space at the upcoming Market, unless those 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. Need for electricity is also a consideration.

2018 Vendor Agreement

I have read the 2018 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, 2018, deadline. If I am not able to use ManageMyMarket, paperwork and payments must be delivered to Illinois Stewardship Alliance (ISA) prior to the May 1, 2018, deadline.  I understand that failure to comply with all applicable rules may result in vendor termination and forfeiture of any paid fees.