IL purchasing program benefits local food system, those in need

A new Illinois Department of Agriculture program is bringing locally grown food to communities in need.

Kristi Jones, deputy director, says $28.8 million and a year-long study developed the Illinois Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement (LFPA).

“Historically underserved farmers can sell proteins, produce and minimally processed items at fair market value,” she says.

She says twenty distribution sites are established across the state, and farmers are already utilizing the market for their products.  Jones says the state-purchased products are being utilized by food banks, senior centers, and other places of need. 

“Those products are then provided at no cost to underserved communities,” she says.

Jones says a month into the program, they’re already seeing a variety of products.

We’re seeing protein, meat and chicken. We are seeing eggs.”  She says, “We are seeing bread products. We are starting to see root vegetables and potatoes, and I’m so excited as we get into the prime growing season.”

Interested farmers should contact their local University of Illinois Extension office. 

The program is funded through the USDA Local Food Purchase Assistance Program.

IDOA is partnering with Extension and the Illinois Department of Human Services on LFPA.

Jones delivered her remarks to a crowd in Venice, Illinois last week. 

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