Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force
The Illinois Food, Farm and Jobs Act of 2007 established the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force.
The Task Force was given the duty of developing a plan containing policy and funding recommendations for expanding and supporting a State local and organic food system and for assessing and overcoming obstacles to an increase in locally grown food and local organic food production. The Task Force will be working towards the preparation of a report which will be submitted to the General Assembly by September 30, 2008.
The Plan, among other matters, will include:
- identify land preservation and acquisition opportunities for local and organic agriculture in rural, suburban, and urban areas;
- identify farmer training and development, as necessary, by expanding training programs such as Farm Beginnings, incubator projects such as Prairie Crossing Farm, urban agriculture training programs, farmer-to-farmer learning opportunities, or other programs;
- identify financial incentives, technical support, and training necessary to help Illinois farmers to transition to local, organic, and specialty crop production by minimizing their financial losses during the 3-year transition period required under USDA standards and to help with recordkeeping requirements;
- identify strategies and funding needs to make fresh and affordable Illinois-grown foods more accessible, both in rural and urban communities, with an emphasis on creating new food outlets in communities that need them;
- identify the financial and technical support necessary to build connections between landowners, farmers, buyers, and consumers;
- identify the financial and technical support necessary to build a local food infrastructure of processing, storage, and distribution;
- identify the financial and technical support necessary to develop new food and agriculture-related businesses for local food and organic food production and distribution, such as on-farm processing, micro-markets, incubator kitchens, and marketing and communications businesses;
- identify the financial and technical support necessary to expand the development of farmers markets, roadside markets, and local grocery stores in unserved and underserved areas, as well as the creation of year-round public markets in Chicago and other large communities;
- research, identify, and coordinate best practices and opportunities for the development of local food and organic food production;
- identify opportunities to educate the public and producers about the benefits of local foods systems and about the development opportunities provided through this Act; and
- identify legal impediments to local food and organic food production, and develop recommendations for a remedy.
ILLINOIS LOCAL AND ORGANIC FOOD AND FARM TASK FORCE