Homegrown By Heroes Initiative is Launched

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HH_IPLogoMore than thirty organizations convened at the Illinois Farm Bureau yesterday and formed statewide steering committees to assist in implementing the new Homegrown By Heroes Illinois Products program.

Illinois veterans will soon have the opportunity of a national branding campaign to help market their farm products. The Homegrown By Heroes Illinois Products initiative, a product labeling program, will allow Illinois farmers, ranchers, fishermen and others who have served or are still serving in any branch of the U.S. military, the ability to use the logo on their agricultural products.

Farmer training and education are also large components of the initiative that will provide informational resources available to veterans desiring to farm in the state.

The Homegrown By Heroes Illinois Product logo will be made available to the veteran-farmers and veteran agricultural producers. They can use the logo to identify and market their Illinois grown and made products on packaging, signage, websites, social media, etc., or wherever these products are being sold. 

The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Farm Bureau are partnering with the Farmer Veteran Coalition to bring this initiative to the state.

"This statewide collaboration will help ensure these veterans are successful in their agriculture endeavors. The initial response and buy in has been overwhelming and this support will help provide incredible opportunities for our service members" states Kendra Schilling, Local Foods Liaison, Illinois Department of Agriculture. 

The Homegrown By Heroes initiative will include Illinois programs such as developing mentorships between experienced farmers and veterans; identifying community land access benefiting beginning farmers and saving municipalities the high cost of maintenance; farmer training; farmers’ market opportunities and partnerships; assisting veterans in developing value-added products; fostering relationships with retailers and food service organizations;  identifying resources for farmers wishing to raise livestock, grow commodity crops, and more.

 “Taking a statewide approach will lead toward a cohesive program providing an opportunity for integration of resources and marketing opportunities,” said Cynthia Haskins, Manager of Business Development and Compliance for Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB).

Program details and announcement of the statewide committees members will be shared during the Local and Regional Food Summit, hosted by the Illinois Farm Bureau and Illinois Department of Agriculture and Heartland Community College at Heartland Community College, November 13.

Information meetings are planned throughout the state. Additional information can be obtained through IFB's Cynthia Haskins, or Kendra Schilling at the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

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Illinois Department of Agriculture

Click here to learn more about the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)

Farmer Veteran Coalition

Click here to learn more about the Farmer Veteran Coalition.