MarketMaker makes multistate connections in the food chain
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[March 12, 2007]
URBANA -- From producer to consumer and back
again, the food chain winds its way from field to fork across
America. But, connecting the product with the customer can be
difficult, particularly for smaller operations that may not have the
resources to do extensive marketing. The MarketMaker website is
helping make those connections on a multistate level.
MarketMaker currently includes Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and
Kentucky, but Michigan and Indiana have just recently announced
plans to become part of the network and New York's site is expected
to be launched this summer. Nearly a dozen other states have entered
into discussions to join the effort to build this powerful Web-based
marketing resource for consumers, farmers and food-related
"MarketMaker began as an online database of Illinois businesses
and was so successful that now other states have joined the effort,"
said University of Illinois Extension specialist Richard Knipe.
"University of Illinois developed and owns the tool, but the
multistate partnership that is able to pool large amounts of food
industry data and provide it to the public really adds value to the
Individuals can use the MarketMaker website to search for
restaurants or places to buy things like maple syrup, wine and
produce direct, and producers can search for farmers markets,
grocery stores and other outlets to sell their food products.
The original website is located at
From there, visitors can search for restaurants, grocery stores,
farms and other production facilities across several states. "It's
more than a directory of information because it has interactive
features like mapping and search capabilities so users can really
target and focus on the data that they need," said Knipe.
Each state has a unique site, but all the data from all other
MarketMaker states can be accessed from any location. In June a
national MarketMaker portal will be made available to the public.
The National Agricultural Resource
Center at Iowa State University will host the portal and will
include a clickable map of the entire United States. Participating
states are highlighted, making it easy for users to navigate from
state to state or to regionalize their data searches.
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There is no charge associated with having a business or farm
listed on the site.
"Our goal is to make the site a resource for all farmers and
businesses in the food supply chain," says Knipe. "We are as
interested in helping a grocery store find farm-fresh eggs as we are
in helping the farmer find a place to sell them, so it's important
to include as many producers in our database as possible."
You can see MarketMaker by visiting any of the following sites:
For more information about MarketMaker, contact any member of the
development team: Richard Knipe,
email@example.com, 309-792-2500; Darlene Knipe,
or Sandy Shetler,
MarketMaker was developed through a collaboration between the
University of Illinois Initiative for the Development of
Entrepreneurship in Agriculture, the Illinois Department of
Agriculture, and C-FAR, the Illinois Council on Food and
Agricultural Research. The project was funded by the Illinois
Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension, and the
Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research.
[Text from file received from
the University of Illinois
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences]