News Article

Directory of Central Illinois Farm Producers on the Web

By Aces Staff
Jun 12, 2003

June 12, 2003

URBANA - Farm-fresh eggs, meat, produce ad other products from Central Illinois producers are just a click away on a new website created to help consumers connect with farmers close to home.

The website, located at http://www.aces.uiuc.edu/asap/resources/farmdirect/, is the online version of the first edition of the Central Illinois Farmer to Consumer Directory.

At the website, visitors can search by county or by product. For example, after clicking on Iroquois County, a page is displayed showing a map of the county with the locations of the farms marked. On the Iroquois page there are farms listed that sell products directly to consumers including blackberries, eggplants, veal, organic heirloom potatoes, duck and goose eggs, organic vegetables, leaf lettuces and more.

Each entry also includes the name, address and phone number of each farm business -- some having a website of their own.

When a visitor to the site searches by product, a listing of locations all around Central Illinois is displayed. For example, click on the icon of the chicken and a page listing over 25 resources for free-range and organic poultry is displayed -- including ostrich meat.

The printed directory and the new online version were produced by a partnership including The Land Connection Foundation, Prairieland Slow Food and the University of Illinois Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program.

"Only growers who sell directly to consumers are included in the directory," said Terra Brockman, president of The Land Connection Foundation. "And only processors dealing with livestock raised primarily within a 100 mile radius of the facility and selling those meat and dairy products directly to consumers are included."

"We wanted to make it easy for people to find farmers in their own community," said Laurence Mate, director of Prairieland Slow Food. Mate said that farm-fresh food has more flavor and there are a lot more varieties to choose from. "Instead of the half dozen varieties of apple commercially available, you can buy a Stayman Winesap from Jeff Meyer or try dozens of different varieties at Wolfe Orchards or Lost Creek Orchards, or even hundreds at Applesource," he said. "Once you discover how sweet fresh-picked asparagus actually is or how much flavor a really ripe Brandywine tomato can pack, there’s no going back."

Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant, David Onstad and Stuart Tarr at the University of Illinois believe that this website directory will help small farmers build a clientele of local customers. "In order for small farmers to thrive, they need sustainable income," said Cavanaugh-Grant. "Connecting farmers with customers helps everyone."

The website also includes a listing of farmers' markets and Community-Supported Agriculture businesses in Central Illinois. Community-Supported Agriculture is also known as "subscription farming." Customers buy a subscription from a local farmer much like a subscription to a magazine, but instead of a magazine, they receive a pre-determined amount of fresh, locally grown or raised fruit, vegetables, eggs, and/or meats.

For more information, about the U of I Agroecology/Sustainable Agriculture Program contact Deborah Cavanaugh-Grant at cvnghgrn@uiuc.edu or phone (217) 968-5512.

To obtain a printed copy of the directory contact David Ostad at onstad@uiuc.edu or phone (217) 333-6820.

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