Illinois Gov. Pritzker Signs Bill Redefining ‘Local Foods’

New law positions local businesses for success

SPRINGFIELD, IL — On Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation redefining what shall be considered “local” food in the state of Illinois, making it easier for Illinois-based food producers and manufacturers to compete for state procurement contracts that prioritize “local foods”.

Prior to the governor signing HB2505, foods were only considered “local” if every ingredient was sourced from within the state of Illinois, making it difficult for local food producers to compete for business with the state.

“Before Gov. Pritzker signed this bill into law, the definition of ‘local’ food excluded many of our favorite truly local products, like fruit jams grown, made and packaged right here in Illinois, said Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford). “We owed it to our constituents to fix that problem, and I thank the governor for signing this bill into law.”

This new state law stipulates that foods are considered ‘local’ if they contain ingredients grown in Illinois or are processed or packaged within Illinois and contain at least one ingredient grown in Illinois.

“Now, local farmers and food and beverage producers are better positioned for success, which is one of the primary reasons I wanted to represent my district in the General Assembly in the first place–to help small businesses succeed,” said Sen. Fowler (R-Harrisburg).

Passing unanimously in both chambers of the General Assembly, HB2505 was co-sponsored by State Rep. Maurice West and State Sen. Dale Fowler, demonstrating its broad support across both northern and southern Illinois.

“This effort was a perfect example of the role state government can play in improving quality of life for Illinoisans,” said Eliot Clay, agriculture and water programs director at the Illinois Environmental Council. “It’s great to see us all working together for folks who couldn’t be more proud of what Illinois has to offer.”

“This law makes a small fix that has big implications for our Illinois fruit, vegetable, and livestock farmers. Now veterans homes, schools, and universities can buy more local food. We’re excited to work with farmers and state agencies to take advantage of the new law, keep food dollars in the Illinois economy, and grow the health and wealth of our state,” Molly Gleason, communications director at Illinois Stewardship Alliance.