market grant program for next year
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[October 22, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Rod R.
Blagojevich announced Tuesday that grant money is available to help
Illinois farmers markets pay the cost of advertising next year. The
funds will help Illinois farmers markets promote themselves while
increasing the demand for fresh, locally grown produce.
"The number of farmers markets in Illinois has increased
exponentially over the past decade," Blagojevich said. "Consumers
today are much more aware of the high quality of Illinois-grown
products. This can be attributed in part to more advertising of
Illinois farmers markets. This grant money will assist in continuing
promotion and increasing public education about Illinois-grown
The Illinois Farmers Market Advertising Grant program provides
individual farmers markets with up to $7,500 to help with
advertising and promotional expenses during the 2009 season. The
funds were awarded to the Illinois Department of Agriculture through
the Federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program and will be
distributed as part of Opportunity Returns, the governor's economic
development program. This year, $132,565 in grant money is
More than 250 farmers markets currently operate in the
state of Illinois. That number is up from 97 in 1999. Nationally,
Illinois ranks first in the nation for its pumpkin production and in
the top 10 in the production of many other specialty crops, such as
asparagus, cauliflower, peas and lima beans.
According to a 2003 Illinois Specialty Crop Survey, more than
117,000 acres of farmland is devoted to growing specialty crops,
producing nearly $137 million in sales for Illinois farmers.
"Illinois is a leader in agriculture, both here in the United
States and abroad. We have seen a huge increase in the number of
consumers demanding quality Illinois-grown produce," said
Agriculture Director Tom Jennings. "Each year, more and more
consumers shop at local farmers markets for their fresh fruits and
vegetables. This grant money will continue to enhance the
competitiveness of these specialty crops, both here in Illinois and
across the nation."
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The Illinois Department of Agriculture will accept applications
through Dec. 1. Grant money will be awarded in early 2009.
Application forms can be obtained at
www.agr.state.il.us or by calling 217-524-9129.
Blagojevich's Opportunity Returns regional economic development
strategy is the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating
jobs in Illinois' history. Because a one-size-fits-all approach to
economic development just doesn't work, the governor has divided the
state into 10 regions, each with a regional team that is empowered
and expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.
Opportunity Returns is about tangible, specific actions to make
each region more accessible, more marketable, more entrepreneurial
and more attractive to businesses. It is about upgrading the skills
of the local work force, increasing the access to capital, opening
new markets, improving infrastructure, and creating and retaining
jobs. Opportunity Returns is about successfully partnering with
companies and communities, large and small, to help all of Illinois
reach its economic potential.
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]