You must have a Class B or Class C Retail Farmer’s Market license to sell at a farmer’s market in Illinois. You need a micro grower license if you want to sell seedlings at the farmer’s market. The Illinois Department of Agriculture regulates micro grower licenses through their Certificate of the Registration program. This program is designed to prevent the sale of illegally propagated plants and to help protect the integrity of markets by ensuring that only those who are authorized are participating in the marketplace. The purpose is also to help conserve natural resources by only planting what we can consume.
Why You Need a Micro Grower License?
You need a micro grower license to sell plants at a farmer’s market. A micro grower license is also known as a Certificate of Registration. The process begins with getting approval from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. You will apply along with various documents and fees. The IDOA will review the materials and decide whether you will receive approval to sell plants at the market. The process takes anywhere from two to six months. It involves submitting an application, paying fees, obtaining insurance, providing detailed information about your marketing plan for the sale of plants, and possibly even having inspections done on your growing facilities [if you are an in-state grower].
How to Become a Micro Grower in Illinois?
To become a micro grower in Illinois, you must first determine if you are eligible. If you are a Class C or B Farmer’s Market licensee and want to sell plants at the market. Then you need a micro grower license. So if you already have one of these licenses, then as long as your business is selling plants. It qualifies as a micro grower business in your situation. The micro grower license is for those who want to sell plants at the farmer’s market without having another type of farm produce license. If you do not have either of those licenses. You must apply for both before applying for the micro grower certificate.
How To Apply for a Micro Grower License?
The process for applying for a micro growers license includes:
Submitting a complete application for the micro grower certificate. An application for the micro grower certificate contains sections detailing your retail farmers market business. The legal name, social security number, address, phone number, business name, etc. Submitting proof of insurance. The application requires you to submit a $5,000 liability insurance policy for your operation. Providing a detailed description of your marketing plan. The application requires you to provide a detailed plan that is written clearly and specifically detailing exactly how you will market and sell plants at the farmer’s market, including. Where you will get the plants, how they will maintained and transported to the market. In what method of sales you will use, etc.
You must also provide documentation stating that your sales limited to $50,000 annually based on an average of 3 markets for 12 weeks. The application also requires information about how you grew the plants before bringing them to market. This includes whether or not you obtain plants from another source for resale. Information about that source, and where it is located.
What Other Requirements Do You Need to Make Sure You Meet?
Aside from the application and other required materials. The IDOA requires that you show proof of your grower license or certified nursery license before you will issued a micro grower’s Certificate. The IDOA requires that you are an Illinois business owner with at least 51% ownership. So if you are incorporated as an LLC or some other business entity. Then the IDOA does not require that you be 100% owner of the business to qualify for a certificate. If you are operating as an unincorporated sole proprietorship, then the IDOA will require that you own 100% of that business.
If you are a partnership, it is recommended that you have a manager with the same amount of ownership. As you do and responsible for the business’s daily operation. Suppose you are operating as a limited liability company. In that case, it’s recommended that your corporate secretary act on behalf of all owners. They keep their interests in mind by making decisions accordingly. You must also provide the IDOA proof that your business is located in Illinois.
A micro grower license is required for anyone who wants to sell plants at a farmer’s market. The Illinois Department requires the micro grower license of Agriculture. The process includes applying, proof of insurance, and a detailed plan that includes information on where you are getting your plants from, growing methods, etc., along with proof of your agricultural business licenses in Illinois. If you already have a Class B or Class C Farmer’s Market License and want to sell plants at the market, then you will need a micro grower license instead of only one of the other two licenses.