The department today announced it now is accepting applications from Illinois grocery stores and Illinois farmers’ markets for free, point-of-sale materials that can help consumers identify and purchase locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
“A robust local food industry holds great promise for rural and urban communities alike,” Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “If Illinois could increase the amount of money spent on locally-grown food to just 10 percent of its total grocery bill, thousands of jobs and more than 20 billion dollars a year in economic activity would be generated.”
The point-of-sale materials sport an updated “Where Fresh Is” logo. The full-color logo, which the department created to brand Illinois produce, still features an assortment of fruits and vegetables grown in Illinois, but the background has been changed to an eye-catching yellow and the “where fresh is” slogan now appears on a red ribbon beneath the word “Illinois.”
A USDA specialty crops grant is funding the campaign. The grant will allow 200 grocery stores and 100 farmers’ markets to receive a starter pack of materials that includes one self-standing, vinyl banner and one roll of 1,000-count product stickers.
Interested stores and markets must submit an application by Feb. 15. Downloadable application forms are available on the department’s website at www.agr.state.il.us.
While best known for its corn and soybean production, Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins and horseradish in the nation and ranks among the top ten states in the production of other specialty crops such as asparagus, cauliflower, green peas and lima beans. It devotes more than 117,000 acres of farmland to growing specialty crops, which produce nearly $137 million in sales for Illinois farmers.
The new point-of-sale materials are just one piece of a larger statewide initiative that will promote the logo through television, radio and billboards advertising.
Selected grocery stores and farmers’ markets will receive their materials by March 15.