The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway is heading to market. The Byway is using a $99,000 USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant it received last year from the USDA to reach out to local foods and wares producers to bring awareness to the concept of purchasing locally-grown foods. The goal is to reach out to the hundreds of farmers, entrepreneurs and small business owners along the Byway and connect them to each other and to the visitor.
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The program is also designed to connect visitors to restaurants and stores that feature locally grown, raised, and produced foods and wares as well as connect the producers to one another so they might be able to partner with each other and find an even greater benefit to their endeavors. The Byway has already started compiling an extensive list of producers and farmers but the Byways is asking regional farmers and producers to visit their website and fill out a form which asks about retail set-up, if farmers sell at community markets or if they provide local products to restaurants and which ones. Small business that want to or already do sell or utilize local products can also complete the form and in turn receive similar recognition for helping grow local business. The Illinois River Road stretches 291 miles alongside the Illinois River from Ottawa to Havana