Local Foods and Specialty Crops
The Local Food System Response to COVID: Building Better Beyond Webinar Series
Join USDA on the 3rd Monday* of each month for a facilitated cross-sectoral discussion on topics including customer retention and engagement, emergency food, cooperative business models, state policies and consumer behavior.
November 16, 2020 - 1:00 pm ET - Retaining and Engaging New Local Customers: Tensions and Opportunities featuring Josie Walker, NAFDMA Agritourism Association, Local Catch Network
- December 21, 2020 – 1-2pm EST – Emergency Food, Charity, and the Local Food System
- January 25, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Innovations in State Policy and Implications for Local and Regional Food Sectors
- February 15, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Formal and Informal Cooperative Development to Support Local and Regional Food Systems
- March 15, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Online Platforms: Pivots and Planning for the Future
- April 19, 2021– 1-2pm EST – Integrating National Consumer Survey Results into Future Planning
- May 17, 2021 – 1-2pm EST – Next Steps to Support the Local Food System in Times of Uncertain Consumer Behavior
* Due to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January’s webinar will take place on the 4th Monday, January 25th.
Illinois Farm Bureau wants to help members convey the message that Illinois farmers are open for business. Farming doesn’t stop, even during a pandemic like COVID-19. Crops must still be planted, and livestock must receive the care they need. We know that some of our members have food products readily available for sale. Did you know you can utilize resources available through the Illinois Specialty Growers Association to create an online presence for your business and sell your products online to local buyers? Check out the Market Maker system and create your profile now. If you need assistance, check out this handy resource guide.
Agritourism / Pick Your Own Operation / Community Garden Resources
Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, and University of Illinois Extension have produced an Agritourism Guides for U-Pick and agritourism businesses during COVID-19. These are recommendations and are subject to change as regulations evolve.
- Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Specialty Growers Association, and University of Illinois Extension discuss best practices for your Agritourism or Pick Your Own Operation to operate during COVID-19.
- Purdue University Recommendations: Guidelines for U-pick/agritourism sites and guidelines for U-pick guests.
- North Carolina State University recommendations for U-pick sites.
- How COVID-19 Impacts Community Gardens
Farmers Market and Farm Stand Resources
- The Illinois Farmers Market Association has updated their COVID-19 guidelines featuring best practice recommendations for social distancing and enhanced sanitation. There are resources for farmers market managers and customers. You can find all of their resources here.
- Getting your Farm Stand Up and Running VIRTUALLY
- Local Food Systems & Small Farms Webinar Series, including U of I and Farmers Market Association webinar about safety recommendations for vendors and markets.
- How COVID-19 Impacts Farmers Markets
- How does the ‘stay at home’ order impact farmers markets?
- How COVID-19 Impacts U-Pick Farms
Health and Safety Resources
- New FDA food safety guidelines require local farmers to review and adapt their current food safety practices. Cleaning and Sanitizing is a four-step process. Read more here.
- Check out this webinar from Ohio State University with safety tips for produce farms.
- Also check out this helpful Food Safety and Worker Health Flyer from Ohio State University
Agricultural Worker Resources
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) partnered to establish H2A Program Flexibilities and to provide Migrant Worker information. Learn more about how to participate in that program here.
- The CDC published COVID-19 guidance for agricultural workers and employers here.