Farmer’s markets are great places to test out products, exposure, and building relationships! But it’s not all easy. We are bringing together the experts from the City of Chicago and Green City Market to talk about all the things you’ll need to consider prior to signing up to be a part of a farmer’s market.
This event will be a panel discussing in partnership with the City of Chicago and Green City Market to have an open dialogue about the necessary steps, certifications, and licensing your food business will need to grow.
About the Panelists:
Melissa Flynn Executive Director, Green City Market
Melissa Flynn, Executive Director of Green City Market (GCM), brings her talents in community building to further GCM’s mission to deepen its support for small family farmers, educate consumers and the next generation of eaters, and increase access to local, healthy, sustainable food. Melissa believes that collaboration among organizations and communities is critical for the success of farmers markets and ensuring the future of food for generations to come. Melissa’s expertise in creating community programs and developing the marketplace model for local, sustainably-grown food earned her the opportunity to present at the 2019 Direct to Market Ag Summit, 2017 Illinois Farmers Market Association Statewide Annual conference, Michigan Farmers Market Association, and hosted a Farmers Market Roundtable for farmers market directors from across the country.
Green City Market
Established in 1999, Green City Market, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, is Chicago’s largest and first year-round sustainable farmers market. Green City Market provides a marketplace for purchasing sustainably-grown food and connecting farmers and local producers directly to chefs and the greater Chicago community. Green City Market compliments the market with robust educational programs through in-school Edible Education, Edible Gardens, Club Sprouts, and Chef Demos programs. The organization aims to make the market a place where all Chicagoans have access to great healthy food by not only welcoming LINK (formerly food stamps) but matching what shoppers spend on their LINK card dollar-for-dollar up to $15 per market.
Yescenia Mota joined the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (formally the Mayor’s Office of Special Events) in 2003 as a Special Events Coordinator in the Programming Division. Shortly after joining the Department she began managing the Chicago City Markets program and partnered with Green City Market founder Abbey Mandel to hire the City of Chicago’s first Farm Forager. While working with the Farm Forager, she revamped the Chicago City Markets vendor application and market regulations that required farmers joining the program to meet criteria to ensure high quality local produce would be offered. To further enhance the program she also works closely with several other City departments to ensure that the Chicago City Markets are up to code on city regulations. In 2011, she began working closely with the Mayor’s Office to address access to fresh produce in low food access areas and food security in Chicago. She established eight markets in underserved neighborhoods and in 2014 was able to secure the USDA Farmers Market Promotional Program Grant for the City to subsidize vendors at the markets. Over the last three years she has served on the City of Chicago’s Good Food Purchasing Policy Task Force, as well as coordinating the curation of workshops and programs for the Annual Chicago Food Summit with the Chicago Food Policy Action Council.