Important news & resources farmers should know about

COVID-19 has encouraged swift action and partnerships across the state, here is a list of the latest resources farmers should know about.

But first … some GOOD NEWS!

LOCAL FOOD PRODUCERS INCLUDED IN $9.5 BILLION EMERGENCY FUNDING AID

Good news! Local food producers are included in the $9.5 Billion emergency funding aid package passed by Congress today. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is working with USDA on how the money will roll out and who is eligible.

FARMERS, FARMERS MARKETS, AND FOOD BUSINESSES ARE DECLARED ESSENTIAL

From our reading of the Governor’s Stay at Home order, farmers, farmers markets, and food businesses are considered essential and can continue operating according to section 12A in the executive order. Here is the state’s COVID-19 page. We are urging IL Department of Agriculture to offer more direction, guidance, and coordination.


Resources & Aid:

Illinois DCEO has announced a Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. Food and beverage businesses can fill out the grant application between March 25th and April 1st.  Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery.

American Farmland Trust announced a Farmer Relief Fund that will provide $1,000 grants to small and medium size farms that sell at farmers markets or to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products. Applications are open through April 23. (You may have seen AFT’s popular green #NoFarmsNoFood bumper stickers.)

Ten food and farm organizations have been working together for the last year to build the first-ever statewide local food directory to help people find farmers, markets, retailers and farm to table restaurants online and in print. We sped up the plan to get this resource in people’s hands asap. We’re finalizing the back-end of the website and hope to have registration opens next week. Illinois Stewardship Alliance will recruit volunteers who can help farmers get their listing posted fast while people are actively searching for local food.


Use your voice: take these important surveys

Are you a Farmers Market Vendor?

Take this survey: What will be the economic impact on farmers if farmers markets close? Illinois Farmers Market Association in cooperation with the Illinois Specialty Growers Association and other partner organizations are seeking input from Illinois Farmers Market Vendors on the economic impact that farmers markets have on the Illinois economy. This is an important time for the agriculture community to come together and illustrate the importance farmers markets have on the health and economic vibrancy of our state.

Are you a Farm and food businesses?

If so, take this Economic Impact Survey developed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in evaluating specific areas of need for businesses at this time of crisis.


Opportunities to share your story and connect with others: 

Virtual Food & Farm Lobby Day April 2 : Postponed

Get your CSA Featured on Mike Nowak Radio Show

Would you like your farm’s CSA featured on the radio for 8 weeks for only $250? The Mike Novak Show is offering an exceptional promotional package for CSAs to reach a great target audience in the region (folks who love the environment, gardens, growing food) with ads for the next 8 weeks. More information attached or email Mike Nowak at <mike@mikenowak.net>

COVID-19 Producer Impact Listserv

CFPAC launched a few email lists to coordinate the local food system. Farmers can join the COVID-19 Producer Impact list here.

Farmers, you could get a free eCommerce Store

If a producer has a profile in the MarketMaker database, as part of ILFMA and ConnectFresh Collaborative, they can set up a an eCommerce store. There is no subscription fee but there is a 5% transaction fee.  Applies to existing and new users.