A new law will encourage local food production in Illinois. The Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act sets procurement goals of local farm and food products for food purchases funded by the state.
One goal of the law is that by 2020 20% of all food and food products purchased by state agencies and state-owned facilities be produced in Illinois. State-owned facilities include prisons and public universities.
A second goal of the law is that by 2020 10% of all food and food products purchased by entities that at least partly funded by state dollars be produced in Illinois. This category includes public schools, child care facilities, and hospitals.
The legislation creates a Local Food Council that will help facilitate meeting these goals.
This seems like a reasonable approach that we should consider here in Iowa. We in Iowa like to claim the title of “Food Capital of the World.” However, estimates are that about 80% of the $8 billion worth of food we eat in Iowa comes from out of state. Producing more of the food we eat right here in Iowa would be good for our economy, rural communities, health and environment.