It should be easier to cover your table with fresh local produce, as the Illinois Specialty Growers Association is maintaining a web page that directs users to farmers’ markets and direct-from-the-farm sellers. Gina Backes is involved with the Prairie Bounty program in her capacity as national program coordinator for MarketMaker, an organization which promotes local sourcing of farm goods. Backes is based at the University of Illinois Extension in Moline.
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“I think people want to know where their food is coming from,” she said. “Some of the products they are buying (originate from) 2,000 miles away. They want to help 1) support local producers; and 2) they get to know these producers a lot better by either going to farmers’ markets or even going out to the producers’ farms.” The site also includes a guide to “agri-tourism,” a new-sounding word applied to such long favorite activities as going to a pumpkin patch or on a hay-rack ride.