A measure that would standardize regulations for farmers markets across Illinois is making its way through the statehouse. It would assign a deadline to an Illinois Department of Public Health task force for establishing statewide regulations.
Rules for the markets currently vary by county. That can make for an unfriendly business environment for those selling their own produce, says Wes King, executive director of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. His group supports the proposal, which would involve setting rules for food samples and for disclosing where produce originates.
The measure also would set the licensing fee for selling baked goods at the markets at $25. Currently, some counties charge $100 or more. “(Vendors) will have to comply with the same set of rules and regulations rather than the current patchwork quilt of regulations that we have,” said King. He says that would make it easier for farmers to sell their goods across the state.
The measure passed the House unanimously and has now passed out of a Senate committee.