Family Farmed.org is partnering with Chartwells-Thompson Hospitality, the major food service provider for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), to ask Illinois farmers to contract for $500,000 of fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. This will be in addition to the $1.8 million in local farm products they purchased last year from growers in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. This will take CPS regional procurement of fruits and vegetables to $2.3 million for the 2010-11 school year. “The commitment of Chartwells and CPS to purchase fresh and frozen local food is a model for the nation,” said Jim Slama, president of FamilyFarmed.org. “This will continue to support regional family farmers, provide significant levels of economic development in rural communities as well as put healthy food on the plates of Chicago school children.” In order to reduce pesticide residues, the RFI includes a preference for farms that use Integrated Pest Management Techniques and for produce grown without organophosphate pesticides.
News and blog
Holiday Farmers Market: Meet Your Local Producers
Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Artisan’s Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds
The 4th annual Holiday Farmers Market: Meet Your Local Producers will connect consumers and food buyers with local producers who raise turkeys, pork, beef, poultry, eggs, produce, cheese, honey, wine and more. This free event will be held Saturday, November 20 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the Artisan’s Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Co-hosts of the event are the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Slow Food Springfield with sponsorship from Illinois Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension, and Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association.
Activities include a kid’s corner, lunch for purchase by 5 Flavors Catering and a farmers market featuring local food and Illinois wine. The kid’s corner includes Scavenger Hunt, Thanksgiving crafts for kids, and corn grinding demonstration and is sponsored by the Sangamon-Menard Agricultural Education Partnership and the University of Illinois Extension.
Thanksgiving turkeys can be pre-ordered from Bear Creek Farm and Ranch (217) 899-0002 or Yordy Turkey Farm turkeys can be pre-ordered from Central Illinois Event Catering by calling (217) 314-9125. [DMG1] This event is free and open to the public.
For more information about Holiday Farmer’s Market: Meet Your Local Producers, contact Illinois Stewardship Alliance, (217) 528-1563.
Local community based food systems may be the best path forward to economic recovery. While in the U.S., state and local government spend $50 billion each year to subsidize economic development, local community based food and farm development is often overlooked in the process. That was one of the core messages on October 28th program, "The Economics of Eating: How Local Food Can Boost Economic Development."
"The food and farm system should build wealth, health, community connection, and community capacity; but the current food and farm system fails on all fronts," said Ken Meter of the Crossroads Research Center, keynote presenter. Ken Meter a renowned national food and farm economist conducted a study of the central Illinois food and farm economy.
One of the more startling revelations from Ken's study is that in the 9 county region that consists of Sangamon county and the surrounding counties, farmers gain only $3 million each year on average producing commodities, while spending $636 million buying inputs from external suppliers, for a total outflow of $633 million from the region's farm economy. In the meantime, consumers spend more than $1 billion buying food from outside the region. That is a total loss to the region of $1.6 billion of potential wealth each year.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom at the Governor's Mansion, if region consumers purchased only 15% of the food they need for home use directly from regional farmers, this would produce $100 million in new farm income for the region-a 33 time net gain over what farmers earn from selling commodities in an average year. Think of the impact an extra $100 million circulating through an economy would have on stimulating small businesses and overall economic activity!
The potential is not just some number on paper, as Ken's presentation highlighted entrepreneurs that are showing how local food businesses can thrive and build wealth, health, connections, and capacity in communities throughout the Midwest. Whether, it is the Winter CSA is Milan, Minnesota providing fresh organic greens to consumers and restaurants from October to April or a business like Organic Valley Farmer Cooperative in Wisconsin that started in the 1980s as just a few farmers in a living room saying the current system wasn't working for them.
Imagine a vibrant future of community based food and farm economies with diversified farms that feed local communities with fresh healthy local meats, eggs, milk, cheese and vegetables. The time is ripe for citizens, policy makers, and public officials to support efforts to build health, economy, and community through the potential of local community-based food systems.
The "Economics of Eating: How Local Food Can Boost Economic Development," was sponsored by Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Department of Agriculture, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield Urban League, and Slow Food Springfield.
The Springfield Area Local Food Task Force commissioned a study and report of the local food and farm economy for Sangamon and surrounding counties from nationally renowned economist, Ken Meter. Results show that farmers gain $3 million each year producing food commodities, spending $636 million buying inputs from external suppliers, for a total outflow of $633 million from the region’s farm economy. Meanwhile, consumers spend more than $1 billion buying food from outside the region with a total loss of $1.6 billion of potential wealth each year.
The Springfield Area Local Food Task Force is hosting a program, “The Economics of Eating: How Local Food Can Boost Economic Development” featuring a presentation by Meter on the results of the study and the release of a report by the Springfield Area Local Food Task Force entitled, “Building Wealth in our Health, Economy and Community: Developing a Local Food System in the Springfield Area” which outlines assets, barriers and opportunities identified by the task force.
The event will be held on Thursday, October 28 from 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. at the Governor’s Executive Mansion, 401 E. Jackson, in Springfield. The event programming will be from 4:00-6:00 p.m. followed by a short reception with Hors D’oeuvres made from locally grown and produced ingredients. The event is open to the public and costs $10 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting Illinois Stewardship Alliance, 217-528-1563 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsors of the event include: Springfield Urban League, Lincoln Land Community College, Slow Food Springfield, Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity and Illinois Deparment of Agriculture.
To see the report on the Sangamon Area Local Food and Farm Economy, click here.
To view a flier for the Economics of Eating event, click here.
Join Illinois Stewardship Alliance, Sustainable Springfield, Inc., and the Pesticide Action Network of North America in welcoming Dr. Sandra Steingraber and film-maker Chanda Chevannes to Springfield for a screening of the new documentary, Living Downstream, that explores the connections between chemicals in our environment (including agricultural chemicals) and cancer.
Based on the acclaimed book by Illinois native, ecologist, and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream is a visceral and cinematic documentary. This film follows Sandra around North America—and back to central Illinois—as she works to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. To learn more about the film, please visit www.livingdownstream.com.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A session and book signing with Sandra Steingraber and filmmaker Chanda Chevannes. Signed copies of the new and updated 2nd edition of Living Downstream will be available for purchase before and after the film.
$8 General Admission
Sunday, October 17, 7:00 p.m. — Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield
Advance tickets are available online, in person, and by phone (217-523-2787) from Hoogland Center for the Arts. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
"Handsomely photographed and powerfully argued . . . an arresting portrait."
~ The Washington Post
Living Downstream is coming to Springfield as part of a multi-city screening tour.
From October 16 to 19, author Sandra Steingraber and filmmaker Chanda Chevannes will tour the film to Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, Peoria, and Springfield.
For information about the other cities on this tour, please visit: www.livingdownstream.com/illinois_tour.php
Buy your tickets NOW for these mid-October screenings of Living Downstream
Saturday, October 16, 7:00 p.m. — The Art Theater, Champaign, IL
Advance tickets available online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets, and in person from The Art Theater. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
Sunday, October 17, 1:00 p.m. — The Normal Theater, Normal, IL
Advance tickets available online and by phone from Brown Paper Tickets or in person at The Garlic Press. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
Sunday, October 17, 7:00 p.m. — Hoogland Center for the Arts, Springfield, IL
Advance tickets available online, in person, and by phone from Hoogland Center for the Arts. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
Monday, October 18, 7:00 p.m. — Peoria Theater, Peoria, IL
Advance tickets available online, in person, or by phone from Peoria Theater. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
Tuesday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. — Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Advance tickets available online or by phone from Brown Paper Tickets or in person at Women and Children First book store. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office one hour before the screening.
Heartland Local Food Network released a guide outlining the process for establishing a program to accept LINK cards at farmers' markets. This manual was developed based on the experience of the Heartland Local Food Network's work supporting implementation of a LINK program at the Downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market in Bloomington, Illinois. By sharing this information, they hope to make it easier for other markets to achieve the same goal – and to expand access to fresh, healthy food for low-income residents throughout the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) will present the 2010 winner of the R.J. Vollmer Sustainable Agriculture Farmer Award on Aug. 17 during Agriculture Day at the Illinois State Fair (ISF). This year’s winner is Chad Wallace of Oak Tree Organics. Oak Tree Organics, located in Ashland, is a family owned and operated farm offering a wide variety of fresh produce, fruits and eggs. Oak Tree Organics has been providing naturally grown produce to the local farmer’s market for the past six years and offers weekly deliveries to the Springfield and Jacksonville areas.
Oak Tree Organics is truly a family affair. Wallace, his wife Dana and their three children all work on the farm. Their oldest daughter, Amanda, takes care of the books and son, Kyle, works on the equipment. Five year old, Erin, has worked on the farm, side-by-side with her dad since she was in a stroller.
Wallace grew up on what is now Oak Tree Organics Farm. When Wallace was a kid, the farm was a conventional corn and bean operation of several hundred acres but after Wallace’s father retired from farming, he embarked on a different path, converting 18 acres of the family farm to chemical-free fruit and vegetable production.
Free wheat flour will be distributed at Springfield’s farmer’s markets to willing bakers who are asked to share their baked goods with others during National Farmer’s Market Week, August 1 –7, 2010. Illinois Stewardship Alliance is partnering with the Industrial Harvest project to distribute wheat flour that was purchased through the Chicago Board of Trade as part of a project to learn more about how commodities travel through the system and ultimately give the flour a story.
“With this project, I'm hoping to get people to think about this unique institution and its influence on what our food costs, what farmers get paid, and our relationship to food. I also want to generate dialogue about how staple crops fit into a system of sustainable, local agriculture” says Industrial Harvest project organizer, Sarah Kavage. “Even though staple crops make up 70% of our diet, we haven’t been focused on staples and grains the way we have meats and vegetables. So we need to do that.”
Illinois Stewardship Alliance will distribute the flour at the Old Capitol Farmers Market on Wednesday, August 4 and Saturday, August 7 and at the Illinois Products Farmers Market on Thursday, August 5. Both white and whole wheat flour will be given away in bags with 3 – 4 cups of flour each.
“We are excited to bring this project to Illinois’ capitol. We will ask people to bake with the flour, take pictures of what they make and share it with neighbors and friends,” says Lindsay Record, executive director of Illinois Stewardship Alliance. “I think this project symbolizes the community spirit that abounds at farmers markets – people coming together over food.”
Wheat flour is being distributed at Chicago area farmer’s markets, food banks and other regional events. Locally, the Springfield Urban League will use the commodity wheat in a youth nutrition program.
To learn more about the Industrial Harvest Project go to www.industrialharvest.com.
On Saturday July 17th on a steamy hot day at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, Governor Quinn signed into law two important pieces of local food legislation that will help expand access to healthy fresh locally grown food for the most vulnerable members of our community. Amongst an enthusiastic crowd of people at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market, Governor Pat Quinn singed in to law SB 615 and HB 4756. HB 4756 the Farmers’ Market Technology Improvement act will expand the use of LINK card terminals at farmers markets across the state allowing those who receive food stamps to use their Illinois issued LINK cards to purchase fresh fruits, vegetable and meats at farmers markets across Illinois. HB 4756 is a win-win for both consumers receiving food stamps and farmers vending at farmers’ markets in Illinois. SB 615 the Farm-to-school database program will create a database of schools looking to purchase fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables and local farmers who can provide locally grown fruits in vegetables to schools. The database created by SB 615 will help to create relationship and facilitate purchasing between schools that want to buy fresh local food and the farmers who grow.