Local Foods and Specialty Crops

Financial Assistance  

What’s New with CFAP2 Webinar Recording

Illinois Specialty Growers Association hosted a virtual webinar with Illinois Farm Service Agency specialists to discuss What's New with CFAP2. Current updates to USDA Pandemic assistance now reach a broader set of producers than the previous COVID-19 Program. In fact, more than 230 fruit, vegetable, horticulture, and tree nut commodities are eligible for CFAP2 along with honey, maple sap, and turfgrass sod. During the live webinar, Illinois specialty growers heard from Illinois Farm Service Agency experts about how Illinois specialty growers can benefit from applying for CFAP2. Questions, call the USDA call center at 877-508-8364. Contact your local USDA FSA office to apply.

Watch the recording below or download the presentation.

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

Couldn't make it to the previous webinar? Watch the recording here or read the webinar summary here.

Direct-to-Consumer Sales 

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. 

Farmers Market and Farm Stand Resources  

Health and Safety Resources  

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.