■ leads the U.S. in processed food sales.
■ is 2nd in the nation in corn and soybean production.
■ is 4th in the nation for agricultural exports.
■ is 5th in the nation for processed food exports.
■ is 4th in the nation for the number of farmers’ markets.
For several years now the Illinois: Where Fresh Is campaign has promoted Illinois farmers markets to consumers and helped local specialty growers market their produce. New to the program this year is a Buy Illinois Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Challenge. The challenge encourages consumers to dedicate $10 of their existing grocery purchases to buying Illinois-grown produce. If every household in Illinois participates, the Illinois Department of Agriculture estimates the purchases would generate $47 million dollars a month for local economies.
Television advertising, billboards and social media outlets across the state have begun promoting Illinois: Where Fresh Is, a campaign highlighting Illinois-grown produce at more than 300 participating locations, including grocery stores, farmers’ markets and farm stands.
Each location is proudly displaying the Illinois: Where Fresh Is banner near its Illinois-grown fruits and vegetables section to encourage consumers to buy local. This is the second year of the program. Several of last year’s participants saw up to a 50 percent increase in sales due to their participation.
You can find a farmers market near you by going to www.agr.state.il.us/wherefreshis/. If you are a grower and would like to join the growing membership of the Illinois Specialty Growers Association go to www.specialtygrowers.org.