Finding the Balance: Local Food and Public Health
Finding the Balance: Local Food & Public Health
Who: The Illinois Local Food Farms and Jobs Council
What: A forum exploring how the people of Illinois can benefit from an expanding local food marketplace that ensures food safety.
When: Wed. Dec 7 1:00 -2:00 pm
Where: Illinois Department of Agriculture Building; Illinois State Fair Grounds; 801 E. Sangamon Avenue; Springfield, IL 62702
Last summer, the Illinois General Assembly passed—and Gov. Quinn signed—two state laws that demonstrate the need for flexible public health guidelines that will enable the expanding local food marketplace to satisfy both consumer demand and consumer protection.
One law—a “cottage food industry” measure–will allow farmers markets statewide to sell certain homemade products with a low risk for causing food-borne illness. (Numerous states find that direct-marketed products do not require the same formalized procedures as products sold through wholesale channels.) The other law creates a task force charged with generating recommendations to standardize regulations that are being administered by local jurisdictions at hundreds of farmers’ markets statewide.
The successful implementation of these state laws will help Illinois grow local and regional food systems, say ILFFJC co-presidents Johari Cole and Jim Braun. (Cole is a Kankakee-based organic farmer firstname.lastname@example.org 312-515-7842; Braun is a Springfield-based community organizer. 515-229-2679)
The ILFFJC is a statewide, community-led coordinating body created by the IL General Assembly. Its 35 directors–appointed by the governor—are establishing a non-profit organization whose charge will be to facilitate local food system development in urban, suburban, exurban, and rural communities throughout Illinois.
Nationwide, local food is expected to generate $7 billion in sales this year, a new USDA report finds. (See 11/14/11 Bloomington Pantagraphhttp://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/
The lion’s share is direct-market sales of fruits and vegetables. Food safety concerns increase with products such as dairy and meat as well as larger-volume, wholesale market channels such as restaurants, grocery stores and institutions.
At tomorrow’s forum, public health representatives from the federal, state and county level will present perspectives on their agencies’ response to the strongest food trend in decades.
Center for Disease Control; Anne Haddix (confirmed)
IL Dept. of Public Health; Patricia Welch (confirmed)
Cook County Dept. of Public Health; Jim Bloyd (confirmed)
City of Chicago Mayor’s Office; Mike Simmons (confirmed)
The forum moderators will be Wes King of the Illinois Stewardship Alliance and Pat Stieren of coordinator of the Illinois Farmers Market Network.
For more information, go to the ILFFJC website www.foodfarmsjobs.org