Farming associations work to strengthen Illinois’ food supply chains

(The Center Square) – With a goal of bolstering local food and specialty crops supply chains, three Illinois organizations have joined forces to create the From Food to Flowers: Everything Local conference.

The event is the result of the Illinois Farm Bureau, the Illinois Specialty Growers Association and the Illinois Farmers Market Association coming together to give their members a chance to connect and build relationships.

Randy Graham, chairman of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, said the desired result of the event is to get Illinois products on the dinner table.

“We have 12.7 million residents in Illinois and only a fraction of the food that crosses those tables is produced in Illinois,” Graham said. “It really makes sense that we would produce more of our own food close to home.”

Illinois is the number one producer of pumpkins and horseradish in the country. The Illinois Farm Bureau reports there are more than 64 vegetables and 15 fruit and nut crops grown in Illinois that produces nearly $500 million in sales for farmers.

“We have developed such great relationships throughout the supply chain and among our member organizations, it made sense to incorporate that into our conference,” said Raghela Scavuzzo, Illinois Farm Bureau local foods program manager. “This conference truly will be the center of our state’s local food and specialty crop sectors for these three days.”

The hybrid event will take place Jan. 11-13, in person at the Springfield Crowne Plaza and virtually through an online conference portal.

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