If Illinoisians bought just 10 percent of the food they ate from Illinois farmers,we could generate $20 to $30 billion in new annual economic activity in the state by 2030, according to the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force.The finding was part of a nearly 50 page report presented to the General Assembly in Springfield today.
After meeting for more than a year, the task force, made up of 32 food and farming types from all over the state,recommended that moreIllinois farmersdevote at least part of their acreage to “food crops”–rather than commodities like soy and corn. This way consumers could buy more fresh local tomatoes, peas, squashand peppers, commodity farmers could earn extra cash and employ extra workers and lessproducewould have to travel here from far away.
The task force also recommended:
That governmentset up infrastructure that makes iteasier for farmers to get produce to the right people in the right condition.
That government help facilitate deals between Illinois farmers and potentialcustomersincluding those who makechowfor Illinois schools, hospitals,prisons, nursing homes, universities and more.
Improving health in thestate bybringing fresh local produce toareas thatare overserved by fast food chains and underserved bygreengrocers.
Task force representative Ray Boyer says legislation has already been filedin the House–and later will be in theSenate–for key elements of the plan.
Read the whole report at FamilyFarmed.org