Farmers needed to complete survey on creation of Illinois farm to food bank program

Illinois farmers are encouraged to take a 10-minute multiple choice survey to help in the creation of a farm to food bank program in the state.

The Illinois Farm bureau, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, Feeding Illinois, and the University of Illinois have partnered on the feasibility study.

Raghela Scavuzzo, director of food systems development for Illinois Farm Bureau, says they want to hear from a wide variety of specialty crop, row crop, livestock and dairy farmers about what is needed for food banks to purchase directly from farms.  

“We need to know what kind of infrastructure needs to be built, what kind of crops are available, if farmers are interested in this, the real cost of this and more. We want to hear it directly from the farmers because they are going to be able to give us the best perspective.”

She says they need at least another 200 farmers to complete the survey for the data to be viable. Once completed, the University of Illinois will pair it with interviews from food banks and distributors to provide recommendations in a comprehensive report.  

“From there we are going to pilot a program. We are going to test this out with a food bank based on the recommendations and then hopefully create a long lasting, sustainable, state-funded program that would create this relationship of farms working directly with food banks.”

She says such a program would increase food access, economic dollars within the state, profitability for Illinois farmers, community revitalization and reduce food waste.

The survey is open through April 30th.

Interview with Raghela Scavuzzo

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