Independent Farmers Markets Requirements

How to get permission to open a 2021 farmers market

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COVID-19 Update

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As essential businesses increasing neighborhood access to fresh and healthy food, farmers markets are encouraged to open. The health and safety of market shoppers, vendors and staff remain our highest priority, and all markets are required to follow specific precautions to encourage social distancing and to protect customers and vendors.

All farmers markets in the City of Chicago, whether on public or private property, require approval via email by DCASE City Markets Team in advance of opening. Please follow these procedures:



Market Application Process

All farmers markets, whether on private or public property, are required to complete the following steps. Reviews will be facilitated by the DCASE City Markets team, incorporating other City of Chicago departments and agencies as needed for approvals.

A Farmers Market is only allowed to open once its representative has received an e-mail of approval from the DCASE City Markets Team.

1. Apply for a Special Events Permit or Market Registration from the City of Chicago at When logging in to the permit / registration:

  • Go to
  • Create a login for your organization. We recommend something universal that can be used for multiple years and not tied to a specific user
  • Go to Permits
  • Click on Apply For New Permit
  • If you require a street or curb lane closure or any other CDOT permit or plan to prepare food on site, please click on “Festival and Athletic Event Permits.” When filling this out:
    • On the first page in the Description of Event field, list your full market schedule and times and whether you accept Link.
    • In the Event information page, add a line for each date of your market and put in the times needed for the CDOT Permit (not the market hours).
  • If you are on private property, do not require any type of CDOT permit (e.g. street or curb lane closure) and will not have food prepared on site, please click on “Farmers Market Registrations." When filling this out:
    • On the first page in the Description of Event field, list your full market schedule and times and whether you accept Link.

2. Complete the COVID-19 Social Distancing Plan form (PDF) and email to at least two (2) weeks in advance of the market's proposed opening date.




Social Distancing Protocols (as of April 2021)

Under the guidance of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), all farmers markets are required to follow social distancing protocols ensuring farmers markets to an In and Out model, allowing customers to shop for food without extraneous congregating.

The City of Chicago may do spot checks of markets to ensure that they are following the rules. Violation of the established protocols will result in a warning. A second violation will result in the market being shut down and resubmission and approval of your COVID-19 plan.

Chicago Farmers Markets 2021 Social Distancing Protocols (PDF)

State of Illinois Outdoor Markets and Festival Guidelines (PDF)

Please note attendance capacity limits are based on event square footage. As of May 14, Chicago will be in the Bridge Phase with capacity limits of maximum 30 people per 1,000 square feet.

All guidelines are subject to change. Updates will be noted here.




Prepared Food

  • Market vendors may sell "Grab & Go" food if the food is brought to the market and sold completely sealed
  • Market vendors may sell prepared food as long as the vendor has the Summer Festival Food Vendor Sanitation Certificate. More information on this at the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois Restaurant Association.
  • In order to remove face masks to eat, customers must be seated at tables. For most markets, this means that customers must go outside the market footprint in order to consume anything.




The City of Chicago strives to be the most accessible and inclusive city in the nation for people with disabilities. Therefore, as a Permit Applicant, please take the following items into consideration and comply with all applicable laws and regulations that protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Accessibility for Farmers Markets (PDF)

Disability Awareness & Etiquette Tips (PDF)

​More information and resources available at the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities.