According to extension educator John Pike, the program will start
out with educational programming to highlight the basic needs and
expectations of commercial buyers. It will use the MarketReady
program, a U of I MarketMaker project that has been designed to
educate potential local suppliers about the variety of expectations,
certifications and other requirements that must be met to satisfy
the needs of the commercial buyer.
"We'll also address some food safety issues that are important to
the food supply chain," said Pike. "The rest of the day will be
spent with short presentations from a variety of commercial buyers
for grocery stores, restaurants and food service companies who are
interested in developing relationships with local growers to source
more local fruits and vegetables and, potentially, meat."
Pike says the program will be useful for existing large
commercial growers who are looking to expand their markets as well
as for newer growers or people who are just thinking about getting
into the business, to help them identify potential opportunities.
"It is also to help folks who are in the process of developing
their market plans for a new business or expansion to decide whether
the commercial market is a good fit for their particular operation,"
A separate event at the same location will be a food hub summit,
organized by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic
Opportunity and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural
Development--Illinois. That program will talk about potential
funding opportunities and options for developing food hubs and
aggregation centers around the state.
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Program schedule for "Meet the
March 27, 8:30
a.m.-5 p.m., Champaign County Farm Bureau, 801 N. Country Fair
Drive, Champaign. RSVPs were to be made to 217-352-5235 by March
April 4, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., John A.
Logan Community College, 700 Logan College Drive, Carterville.
RSVP to 618-993-2609 by March 30.
Program schedule for the food hub
March 27, 7-9
p.m., Champaign County Farm Bureau, 801 N. Country Fair Drive,
Champaign. RSVPs were to be made to 217-352-5235 by March 22.
April 4, 7-9 p.m., John A. Logan
Community College, 700 Logan College Drive, Carterville. RSVP to
618-993-2609 by March 30.
release received from the
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and