September Eat Local Challenge Campaign Combats Slump in Farmers Market Sales


This September, Buy Fresh Buy Local Central Illinois is challenging Central Illinois residents to eat local through a month-long photo scavenger hunt campaign. The 4th Annual September Eat Local Challenge aims to combat the yearly slump in sales that farms and farmer’s markets experience during the month of September by helping shoppers find and celebrate local food in their community. Participants that complete the scavenger hunt will be entered into a drawing to win $200 to the local farm or food venue of their choice.

September is one of the most abundant months of the year for Illinois farmers, featuring warm season crops like tomatoes and peaches alongside cool weather crops like apples and winter squash. However, the return of the school session and cooling temperatures mark a drop off in farmers market attendance during this month. The resulting decline in sales, often referred to by farmers as the “September Slump,” increases food waste and weakens the economic viability of small farms before entering into the slow winter months.

Registration for the September Eat Local Challenge opened on Saturday, August 10th, during National Farmers Market Week and will remain open throughout September. The scavenger hunt is designed to allow anyone to play, no matter their location in Illinois or when they join the hunt, and includes challenges such as “Take a photo with a farmer at your farmer’s market and share to social media. Tag the farm and farmers market in your post.”

Participants that complete the full scavenger hunt by September 30th will be entered into a raffle to win $200 to the Buy Fresh Buy Local farm or food venue of their choice.

To participate:

  1. download the Scavify App from your Google or Android App Store
  2. create an account,
  3. Join the hunt: Eat Local Challenge.

Participants will be notified on September 1st when the first challenge begins. For more information visit: bit.ly/SeptemberEatLocalChallenge

In addition, participants will be subscribed to a weekly newsletter throughout the month of September featuring seasonal recipes, updates on local food and farm events happening across the region, and tips and tricks for buying local and completing the photo challenges.

 “The Eat Local Challenge is a reminder that farms are counting on us here in Central Illinois and now is the best time to eat local,” says Molly Gleason, Communications Director for Illinois Stewardship Alliance and an organizer of the Challenge. “Taking the Challenge makes it easy to eat healthy throughout the month and supports a thriving local food economy in our region.”