"Buy Illinois Initiative"

July  07, 2014

       Illinois is the land of milk, honey, and barbecue sauce, thanks to local farmers and businesses. To encourage residents to support locally-produced food, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has launched the "Buy Illinois Initiative." 

      Spokeswoman Jennifer Tirey, says if residents spend just $10 a week on local products, they could boost the state's economy by nearly $2.4 billion each year. 

       "We realize that you might be a rock, stick, skip and a jump across from Iowa or Indiana, but any time you can buy from your local Illinois farmers, just know that you're helping reinvest in your Illinois state economy."

      The Illinois Department of Agriculture launched the campaign last year by promoting fresh produce at over 175 farmers' markets, farm stands, and grocery stores. Tirey says local sales increased by half in some places, and she hopes to expand the program even more by putting a special logo on food produced in the state. 

      "You'll see what they call shelf talkers, where there's readily available signage next to these products. There's so many different Illinois salsa companies. It's just a wide variety of honeys, different products that are made here in Illinois, and if you have the choice, were just asking you to make that Illinois purchase."

       The Illinois Department of Agriculture has partnered with the US Department of Agriculture to expand the campaign. 

       Residents can take the "Buy Illinois Pledge" by visiting www.buyillinoischallenge.com. There is a list of local products on the website.