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!


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.


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:

Since the shelter in place order, Chicago Food Policy Action Council (CFPAC) has led a COVID19 Rapid Response effort bringing together farmers, food businesses, and organizations across the Chicago foodshed (300 mile radius from Chicago). CFPAC has unveiled a new website and forum for collecting and cataloging food related responses, resources, and actions. This site already lists over 75 resources. Thanks for your leadership, CFPAC! Check it out here:

Available in English y Español

¡ATENCIÓN! La “Guia del agricultor para plataformas de software de venta directa” ahora está disponible en español.

The National Young Farmers Coalition has been providing great bilingual resources for farmers during the COVID-19 crisis.

In response to this crisis, more farms are moving to online platforms that support direct sales to consumers in their communities. This resource highlights product options and sales models that farmers may find helpful.

They have provided this valuable resource in:

English  & Spanish

Food:Land:Opportunity (FLO) has launched new financing aimed to support the short term capital needs of local food businesses during COVID-19.

Here are some of the highlights of this new financing program:

  • Accion Chicago and CNIMFG (Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives MicroFinance Group) are the lending administrators of the program. 
  • Short term loans and lines of credit are available up to $250,000
  • Program is focused on regional sustainable farms/producers, food distributors, and range of local food businesses that locate in or sell into the Chicagoland market (per FLO’s focus on local food business)
  • Program was originally launched to address short term capital gaps for businesses that source, promote or grow foods in the region. Short term financing gaps caused by the COVID-19 crisis are within the scope for the borrowed funds. 

If you have any questions or are interested in utilizing this funding, please contact CNIMFG or Accion Chicago directly.

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 <>

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.