Farmers Feeding Illinois

Farmers Feeding Illinois is a program connecting an array of statewide Agri-sourcing initiatives in support of Feeding Illinois food banks and their network of community agencies. The Program encompasses initiatives to increase the supply of specialty crops, meats, dairy, eggs, and any other edible agricultural products - fresh or processed - throughout our state's emergency food system. Through private and public partnerships, the Farmers Feeding Illinois is focused on engaging farmers and the entire agricultural sector to improve the availability and accessibility to nutritious, locally sourced foods for Illinois neighbors in need.

Farm to Food Bank Program

The Farm to Food Bank Program seeks to connect food banks with farms to purchase products like fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, and eggs directly from farmers. This is a unique opportunity to identify and build a long-term market and infrastructure for Illinois farmers and Illinois food banks.

However, to build a viable system, we need to know what kind of infrastructure needs are out there. What kind of crops are available, are farmers interested, and what are the real costs? We need to hear it directly from the farmers because they are going to be able to give us the best perspective.

If your farm would like to learn more about how you can sell food directly to food banks in the Feeding Illinois network, send us a message using the form below and we’ll get you connected.

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A Friend of the Food Banks is any farm or food business selling or donating product to a local food bank or food pantry within the Feeding Illinois network.

Program Objectives

The Farm to Food Bank Program overarching goal is to build a long lasting, sustainable, state-funded program that would create a relationship of farms working directly with food banks to increase food access, economic dollars within the state, profitability for Illinois farmers, community revitalization and reduce food waste.

Objectives include:

  • Collection of data on surplus food in Illinois
  • Pilot and identify strategies and costs
  • Evaluate logistical opportunities and challenges
  • Identify best strategies with product packaging
  • Provide farmers with additional end markets for commodities
  • Expand the supply of fresh food to food banks
  • Increase food security
  • Reduce food waste
  • Keep products, food, and dollars in Illinois
  • Create a roadmap for a statewide farm to food bank program

What Are We Buying?

We are looking for fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk, meat, eggs, and more. We would like your excess product and/or seconds. Seconds are produce items that are cosmetically imperfect in shape, size, or uniformity or are too ripe to meet the shelf life needs of your market. Seconds are also called No. 2 grade or commercial grade. Produce that is rotten, unsafe, dehydrated or near the end of its shelf life is not a second and it should not be sold.

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Can I Donate?

Yes, we will continue to take donations. Any food product that doesn’t qualify as seconds can be donated to the food pantry and will still qualify for a tax exemption. To learn more about tax exemptions, click the link below.

Tax Deduction Guide

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If your farm would like to learn more about how you can sell food directly to food banks in the Feeding Illinois network, send us a message below and we’ll get you connected.
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Our Partners

The Farm-to-Food Bank Program is a collaborative effort between Feeding Illinois, the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, and Illinois Farmers Market Association.
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