History, Mission, Priorities & Impact

Join thousands of residents and visitors in Downtown Urbana every Saturday, 7 AM to noon, from May through October, to celebrate everything local!

Since 1979, Urbana’s Market at the Square has been a mainstay for Urbana and the surrounding area by connecting the community with local growers and artisans. Shop one of the best selections of made- and grown-in-Illinois products including: produce, meat, dairy, honey, local beer and wine, flowers, handmade art and crafts, and more. Saturday morning at Urbana’s Market at the Square is one of our city’s signature institutions! It’s a great way to kick off your weekend.

Our Mission

Urbana’s Market at the Square is a vibrant market that connects the community with local food growers and producers, strengthens our local food economy, provides access to local artisans, and serves as a community gathering place.

Our Priorities

  1. Ensure that the provision of a variety of fresh, healthy, local, high quality foods remains the cornerstone of the Market.

      • Encourage prepared food vendors to source local ingredients, especially those ingredients grown or produced by vendors that participate in Urbana’s Market at the Square.
      • Improve the availability of a diverse range of high-quality foods.
      • Promote a healthier community by offering sustainably and organically raised produce and products.
  • Enhance the quality of life in Urbana and the surrounding community by providing community activities which foster social gathering and interactions.
      • Expand relations with surrounding businesses, restaurants, and neighborhood groups.
      • Increase community engagement and attract new customers through targeted media and increased brand awareness.
      • Customize vendor offerings and programs for shopper base, such as: tourists, families, seniors, children and students.
      • Seek out opportunities to coordinate events and partner on programs that enhance the customer experience.
  • Promote the Market as an educational forum for consumers to learn the uses and benefits of quality, locally grown and/or prepared foods.
      • Educate consumers about high-quality food and its source.
      • Offer opportunities to sample food sourced by market vendors.
      • Offer farm linkage and nutrition programming for children.
      • Educate customers on how to prepare and preserve seasonal and local food.
  • Enhance the Market’s role in the local food system, vendor profitability, and in the local economy.
      • Support and encourage the preservation of sustainable farmed land.
      • Connect local producers and farmers to chefs, restaurateurs, food organizations and the public.
      • Offer a pathway for farmers and producers to help them grow from incubation to independent success based on their individual needs.
      • Increase outreach to entrepreneurs in underrepresented culture groups to vend at Urbana’s Market at the Square.
      • As a resource to vendors in need, establish a scholarship fund and emergency fund program.
  • Consider future growth of the Market and ensure that it remains consistent with the Market’s mission and remains as a financially self-sufficient program of the City of Urbana.
      • Partner with local economic development departments to research and understand market trends and data.
      • Determine methods for engaging and building stakeholder loyalty, such as: surveys, sponsorships, partnerships, etc.
      • Seek and remain open to opportunities such as pop-up markets, new markets, and expanding Urbana’s Market at the Square.
  • Encourage a dynamic, high-quality growers Market.
      • Incentivize vendors that source local ingredients for their products as a way to nurture partnerships and collaboration.
      • Curate the market with vendors that bring a balance of variety and competition while reflecting vendor and customer needs.
  • Promote the inclusion of stakeholders in the decision-making process for the Market.
    • Exchange ideas with vendors to curate the ideal market composition.
    • Engage the Market at the Square Advisory Board in the end-of-season review process and in the development of the annual report.

Our Impact

To learn more about the Market’s performance last year and our impact on the local community please feel free to browse the following documents:

Annual Report 2018
Survey Report