Shop Local

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What does local mean?

Live Local

Local food can be defined in many ways. Some businesses may be hyperlocal with a 25-50-mile radius, while various USDA organizations may define it as anywhere form 250-500 miles. Others may define it by county, state or region. This may seem confusing - or that anything can be local. However, local is how YOU define it. Consider local like you consider the definition of community. A community can vary, depending on the activity, culture, and the people.  Consider the factors that matter to you and how you prioritize local. Supporting local is truly about hearing a story and learning from the other person. It is about building a strong community. 


How can I shop local?

We’re making local more accessible!

Shop LocalStart shopping local farm and food businesses in and and start shopping local farm and food businesses in and around your community. It’s a great way to support your local community!

Shop Local features an interactive map that contains the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of over 1700 Illinois farms and businesses who market through pick-your own, roadside markets, farmers markets, farm stands, CSAs, and wholesale.

Shop Local is brought to you through a partnership with Illinois Farm Bureau, in cooperation with the Illinois Specialty Growers Association, and Illinois MarketMaker.



Other great ways to support local in your community: 

  • Start by reading packages and labels to see where and how your food is being sourced in the grocery store. Remember to ask questions when you are shopping or out to dinner. Discover how your food is sourced.
  • If the business isn’t sourcing local, be an advocate! Encourage the business to support other small businesses by sourcing from local farmers and processors.
  • Make buying local an experience. Visit farms, support a farm to fork restaurant, or visit the small business in your neighborhood. 
  • Discover the farmers market in your community. Visit the Illinois Farmers Market Association to find farmers markets near you.

Common Terms to know

Agritourism Farms - Farms that contain a recreational or educational enterprise component, such as tours of a working farm and pick-your-own fruits.

Community Garden - A  single piece of land gardenedcollectively by a group of people. Community gardens utilize either individual or shared plots on private or public land while producing fruit, vegetables, and/or plants grown for their attractive appearance. Around the world, community gardens can fulfill a variety of purposes such as aesthetic and community improvement, physical or mental well-being, or land conservation.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) - Farm or network/association of multiple farms that offers consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis. Customers have access to a selected share or range of farm products offered by a single farm or group of farmers based on partial or total advance payment of a subscription or membership fee.

Direct-to-consumer - A product is going straight from the farmer or processor to the consumer. For example, buying a product at the farmer’s market or picking apples at an apple orchard is considered direct to consumer.

Farmers Markets - Market that features two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location.

Farm stands - A small market, typically owned and run by one farmer near to their farm, where they can sell seasonal produce and other value-added products.

Farm to fork - A social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and other food institutions, preferably through direct acquisition from the producer.

Food Hub - Business or organization that actively manages the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products to multiple buyers from multiple producers, primarily local and regional producers, to strengthen the ability of these producers to satisfy local and regional wholesale, retail, and institutional demand.

On-Farm Market - Farm market managed by a single farm operator that sells agricultural and/or horticultural products directly to consumers from a location on their farm property or on property adjacent to that farm.

Pick-Your-Own farms - A farm where customers may go to pick, cut, or choose their own product out of a field. Also called u-pick, cut-your-own, or choose-your-own. Many operations growing berries, tree fruit, and Christmas Trees offer pick-your-own options for customers.

Urban agriculture - Growing or producing food in a city or heavily-populated town or municipality with an expectation of commerce.

Value-Added - Defined by the USDA, these products have a change in the physical state of form (such as jam made from strawberries) or they were produced in a way that enhances its value (for example, produced using an Organic Certification).

Wholesale market - A product will go to a different retail outlet and the supply chain will be slightly longer. For example, buying local jelly at the grocery store or going to a local restaurant could be considered avenues for wholesale.


Growing Our Community Together.