New rules for farmers' markets effective immediately

By Kelsey Gibbs |

Published 06/25 2014 04:36PM

Updated 06/25 2014 05:36PM

ILLINOIS -- A new law, aimed at regulating farmers' markets, is getting mixed reactions. Local farmers' markets have grown tremendously the past 20 years. But, there were no clear-cut guidelines vendors had to follow until now. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

About half the people we spoke with say they're for the new law; the other half, against it.

"If it wasn't for the farmers' market, I wouldn't have the business."

Mark Baalman and his son try to make the Old Capitol Farmers' Market every year. Baalman says, each year he looks forward to participating because his family depends on the income.

"If it wasn't for the farmers' market, probably half of these people wouldn't be raising anything."

Part of the new requirements include displaying exactly where a product comes form and listing what, if any, pesticides were used. Baalman says he'll comply with the law, but doing so will take up a lot of his time.

"It's just a matter of time before the state of Illinois comes down to nothing but rules and regulations that run people out of business."

There's already a Farmers' Market Task Force. These new regulations will help make compliance checks quicker and easier.

Matt Daniels is glad the new rules are in place. He's been selling his produce at markets for close to 15 years.

"But, a lot of times, people don't know the right answers to ask and, I think, it gives them an opportunity to then see where their product is from, the ingredients in it and then maybe ask some more questions."

Daniels says he does understand why some are against it.

"So, the vendors that probably don't believe that this is a good idea may not be raising their own product."

Illinois ranks third in the nation for number of farmers' markets with more than 375 known markets in 2013. Only California and New York have more. The bill takes effect immediately.

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