Homegrown by Illinois heroes

Homegrown By Heroes logoA sharp, full-color logo has been designed to help Illinois veterans market agricultural products. The Homegrown By Heroes Illinois Products logo was unveiled in July at the Illinois Farm Bureau, where more than 30 organizations met to launch the initiative.

Homegrown By Heroes is a national ­branding program and will allow Illinois farmers, ­ranchers and fishermen who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military to use a ­special logo on their agricul­tural products.

Training and education also are com­ponents of the ­initiative, which will make informational resources available to veterans desiring to farm in the state. These programs will:

• Develop mentorships between ­experienced ­farmers and veterans;

• Identify community land access that benefits beginning farmers and saves municipalities main­tenance costs;

• Locate farmers’ market oppor­tunities and partnerships;

• Assist veterans in developing value-added products;

• Foster relationships with retailers and food service organizations.

“Taking a statewide approach will lead toward a ­cohesive ­program ­providing an opportunity for ­integration of resources and ­marketing ­opportunities,” Cynthia Haskins, Illinois Farm Bureau Manager of Business Development and Compliance, said.

An announcement of the statewide steering committee members and further program details will be made during the November 13 Local and Regional Food Summit. The ­summit will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Heartland Community College’s Astroth Community Education Center, 1500 West Raab Road in Normal.